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Shift in thinking needed for electric vehicles

Posted on May 21, 2019 by Sunny South News

If the federal government’s rebate of $5,000 has not been enough incentive for you to afford an electric car, just wait five years.

Some analysts are predicting the price of electric vehicles will be similar to gas powered vehicles within that time.

If we are really only five years away from this shift, our motivation for buying electric vehicles should be strictly about the reduced carbon emissions rather than cheaper running costs.

People who currently own electric vehicles are saving on the cost of fuel and that also means they are not paying all those taxes at the gas pumps.

At the moment that includes 10 cents a litre federal tax, four cents if it’s diesel, provincial sales tax, GST, provincial fuel tax, carbon tax and the list goes on.

We don’t know exactly how much revenue the provincial and federal governments receive annually from these taxes but it would be a sizable amount.

We also know that when enough people stop buying gas in favour of electricity for their vehicles, governments will look for another way to recoup that money.

Either electricity rates will increase dramatically, your annual vehicle licence fee will go up significantly or there will be a new tax of some sort.

That does not mean electric vehicles are not a good thing — they are, and reduction of carbon emissions is fantastic.

This is another reason why municipal, provincial and federal governments should be leading the way with electric public transit vehicles.

It was very shortsighted to move away from electric buses in favour of diesel and natural gas.

We also have a high volume of diesel powered trains running through southern Alberta every day. Imagine the reduction in carbon emissions if they were electric.

At the moment, the people buying electric vehicles typically already have three gas powered vehicles at their home, according to recent media reports.

Primarily they need a gas engine vehicle for any long road trips.

More and more charging stations will certainly help but it will also require an adjustment in our expectations if a trip to Calgary in the middle of winter means a pit stop for an hour to re-charge the battery.

It is all going to take a paradigm shift in our thinking, expectations and the cost.

This editorial originated in the Medicine Hat News.

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