Letter: A reality of electric vehicles

How will governments make up lost gas taxes?

There is considerable excitement about electric vehicles right now. But there are a couple of things to consider as to what the future may hold.

Right now, fully electric cars are less than one per cent of all vehicles insured in Canada. This is no problem for the federal and provincial governments at this rate but consider what will happen when the numbers start climbing. I will guess that the problems for the governments will start to appear at about five per cent and by the time it hits 25 per cent of all vehicles being electric it will be extremely critical.

The loss of revenue from fuel and other related taxes will be enormous and governments on all levels will desperately need to replace this lost revenue or face deep cuts to many social services and programs.

So, what will the governments do to replace the lost revenue from road, transit and carbon taxes, just to name a few?

It would be difficult to apply these taxes to the electricity used for a vehicle so would there be a massive increase on electricity or would it be done through the insurance system? We will not know but you can be sure that these revenues will be found and taken out of your pocket somewhere. The question will be are you going to be subsidizing those who can afford an all-electric vehicle.

When the percentages of electric vehicles start getting into the double digits what will be the effect on the electric grid? Will the current supply ability be sufficient, will the transmission lines and substations be able to handle the load? I think that substantial upgrades will be needed and those costs will be carried by all users.

One other point on the supply of electricity. In B.C. we are fortunate in that 98 per cent of our electricity is hydroelectric supply while the rest of North America is 80 to 85 per cent thermal electric, meaning a fuel is burned or consumed to create electricity. That raises the question just how carbon-efficient are electric vehicles if a fuel is burned to create the electricity that is needed.

No matter what the answer to these questions is it will not mean that we should not pursue all environmental and conservation goals but we should be as educated as possible on the realities of what we are calling green.

Something that is for sure; there will be a hand digging deep into your pocket and hiding behind the Green God to justify itself.

Rick Knodel

Penticton

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