Aussies Still Pay for Electric Vehicles Charges Despite Having Petrol-Operated Ones

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There needs to be more clarity in Australia regarding the electric vehicle (EV) taxes, and experts call for reform.

One of the first states to propose the EV charge was South Australia, but it was abolished earlier this month by the new SA administration, leaving Victoria as the only state to do so.

Electric Vehicles Charges

Other states are also planning to introduce similar types of charges later on. For instance, New South Wales intends to enact this tax in 2027 or, if earlier, when EVs account for 30 per cent of new car sales.

The High Court is currently hearing a case on this unique automobile tax. Regardless of the vote, experts agree there needs to be extensive reform of the road tax system.

David Farrands, a retired schoolteacher, said that he is paying the Victoria-existing EV tax even though he uses his petrol-powered car on a holiday drive to Tasmania. The retiree has been taxed 2 cents for each kilometre he travels, and the tax is still due whether he uses his gasoline vehicle or drives across state lines.

Plug-in Electric Hybrid (PHEV)

In the sound of regret, Mr Farrands was confused about whether he had made the right choice to purchase a new plug-in electric hybrid (PHEV) vehicle two years ago.

“It’s got a battery that runs for 35 kilometres, which is for keeping the air quality in busy cities clean,” Mr Farrands said.

“The philosophy and the concept of the vehicle is perfect for people who go into the city occasionally and don’t want to pollute … but then travel as a retiree and need an internal combustion engine.”

When Mr. Farrands purchased the PHEV Mitsubishi Outlander, he said he was unaware that the Victorian state government was planning to implement a new road-user levy for Victorians who drive an electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen vehicle.

“It was so frustrating. We felt like selling it,” he said.

Mr. Farrands’ Zero and Low Emission Vehicle (ZLEV) road-user charge for the previous year was roughly $456. 

“That is just a huge cost… we are paying more than anybody in a polluting car. I just don’t get it,” he said.

“Simply slapping an extra cost on EVs is a very short sighted and pretty dumb way to improve the efficiency of our transport system more broadly,” said Jake Whitehead, policy director at the Electric Vehicle Council. 

Dr. Whitehead said that finding a fair method for road pricing required cooperation between governments and that it was time to stop using a “piecemeal ad hoc” approach.

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