It is clear that many people around the world are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative impact of Climate Change and that fossil fuels are seen by politicians, medics and environmentalists as a primary cause. Social media has been a powerful tool affecting this rapid change in outlook.
Change on the scale required must be carefully planned and implemented with a close eye on further technological developments. That is why I found Stefan Kunter (CEO of the Elaflex group) so interesting at the recent APEA Conference. Instead of rushing full speed ahead into an EV world, he presented a balanced overview of the future of transport fuels which included hydrogen, LNG, GtL, CNG and synthetic fuels. He also referred to the annual £40bn tax currently gathered by the Revenue & Customs in Germany with no plans yet on a replacement strategy. This is the same for the UK where the Treasury tax take from road fuels is a staggering £35bn every year which will quickly disappear unless a replacement scheme is found.
I have recently met the Treasury and Revenue & Customs to challenge the government on this issue. There is no considered and agreed scheme. Therefore it was not surprising that the Transport Select Committee gave notice of a Consultation on Road Pricing to begin in the New Year. The present government seems wary of any new tax being applied to EVs either directly through enhanced Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or by some form of mileage charge. Their reason being that such tax might impede consumer adoption of EVs to the detriment of the carbon neutral target.
As consumers, we are all now in the strange position of government and vested industry interests offering operating cost comparisons between conventional ICE vehicles, with up to 70% tax on carbon fuel and new EVs with virtually no tax. This lop-sided and unfair comparison could lure consumers to buy EVs without fully appreciating that the financial gains will be relatively short-term until some form of replacement tax is levied. Please send comments on Road Pricing or other road tax suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org