Letter: Electric car fuel price should include road tax

Government comparisons on costs between gasoline/diesel and electricity fail to quantify taxes that are paid on each source of energy.

To the editor:

Re: MLA Norm Letnick’s comments in his column: Helping to Fuel Competition At The Kelowna Gas Bar Pumps (July 25 Capital News), fails to mention there are no road taxes on the electricity (fuel) that electric vehicles consume.

The road tax on gasoline/diesel is approximately one-third of the pump price. His example of the $22 fuel costs for a journey to Vancouver fails to recognize that at least $7 of this amount went directly towards taxes. Should the government not collected these taxes then his cost, at the most, would have been $15.

Most would agree there would be less complaints if fuel prices dropped by one third.

Our government makes comparisons on the operating costs of vehicles between gasoline/diesel and electricity but fails to quantify the amount of taxes that are paid on each source of energy. His column in the newspaper continues this tradition. Yes, electric vehicles are better, but the better may not be as great as it seems.

The “1,500 mile trek” of electric cars he mentions in the column points out this anomaly. The group undertaking the trek used roadways in Canada and the U.S. and contributed nothing towards the roadways they used during their road trip.

The U.S. is no different than Canadians by including taxes, destined for road improvements, into the price of fuel. If the price of electricity doesn’t include some form of taxation for roads then visitors to a province or state do not contribute anything towards the very infrastructure they are using.

The commercial trucking industry working in the U.S. has long been governed by the need to prove they re-fueled in each state they travel through. This ensures each state receives adequate tax revenues from fuel sales.

One consideration in the U.S. is towards a flat fee, paid each year for each electric car, which contributes towards this infrastructure cost. The B.C. government and others are thought to be looking into a GPS system (already implemented in other countries) to track kilometers travelled. The flaw with both approaches is how do visitors pay anything towards the roadways they are using.

Public transit, in converting buses to use natural gas, pays carbon tax on the fuel consumed but again they don’t contribute anything towards road taxes. How many public transit buses are on the roadways using natural gas as a fuel?

The question is how is the government planning to restore the gas tax revenue in a fair and equitable way?

T. Kinsman,

West Kelowna


Kelowna Capital News