Road blocks for electric vehicle ownership in Australia

Is it time to review Luxury Car Tax?

Off the back of the most devastating bushfire season in remembered history, extreme weather conditions that scientists have predicted for decades are now Australia’s new reality. We’re up there with the worst offenders in the world for poor climate change policy, and yet the Australian government is stagnant on many readily-available improvements. In Australia, road transport contributes 17% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, but the technology to combat this already exists: electric vehicles and personal electric transport. Electric vehicles are still low in number in Australia compared to other countries, and much of it has to do with the cost of ownership. 

 Time to review luxury car tax

Norway leads the world in the uptake of electric vehicles with almost 60% of new cars sold in March 2019 entirely electric-powered and in just 5 years time, they will stop sales of fossil fueled cars entirely. 

When it comes to electric vehicles, the USA is also well ahead of Australia. On a recent trip to California, we saw a Tesla on almost every street corner. In 2009, while the Obama Administration was investing in Tesla, our government was busy bailing out Holden, hoping that they’d be able to sustain Australian jobs through local manufacturing of petrol-burning cars (which as of recent news clearly didn’t work.) 

Today in Australia, the federal government offers no direct incentives for electric vehicle ownership. In fact, there’s actually a significant financial disincentive through the Federal Luxury Car Tax and expensive import duties, which puts electric vehicle ownership well and truly out of reach of many Australians. 

Electric vehicle options for now

It’s not all about electric cars. Personal electric vehicles such as electric skateboards, electric hoverboards and electric bikes transport people on roads even more efficiently than electric cars. I’ve travelled over 2500 kilometers to work and back on my electric bike this year. Using the Australian government rate of $0.68 per kilometer rate to calculate my savings, I have saved over $1700AUD in fuel, servicing, registration and depreciation. By using my bike or skateboard, I’ve also removed one car from the road, helping lower car congestion in our city. Despite the clear benefits of using personal electric vehicles,  there are no incentives for personal electric vehicle use either. In fact in NSW, riding an electric skateboard or electric hoverboard is still illegal.

If we can work together to make sensible improvements in Australian tax and road laws, we can help with some of Australia’s most pressing climate issues. 

If you’re interested in making the switch to personal electric vehicles, feel free to come over for a test ride at Ben Buckler Boards in Sydney.