‘Electric car taxation is inevitable’ to fill 8,6 billion euros gap
A massive switch to electric cars in Belgium will inevitably lead to electric car taxation. That’s the opinion of a number of experts. Most think road-pricing will be used to do so. Others fear the electricity used to charge cars will be taxed.
In 2018, the state raised 8,6 billion euros in excise duties and VAT on diesel and gasoline. In this way, the car makes a substantial contribution to the state coffers. However, that amount will fall sharply as more Belgians switch to electric cars.
Electric cheaper to run
Although some studies show that people’s buying intention is waning, there is a lot of interest in electric cars. Car manufacturers also get a lot of questions about it at the Brussels Motor Show. Although some still see practical objections, electric driving is less harmful to the environment and also cheaper.
Only last week the business newspaper ‘De Tijd’ calculated that the electric charging cost of an electric car is 50 to 80% cheaper than filling up with a classic car. Those who charge their electric car at home pay between 3 euros and 4,5 euros for 100 kilometers. Those who fill up with diesel for the same distance pay just over 9 euros.
A large part of that price difference can be explained by the heavy taxes on gasoline and diesel, compared to electricity. In addition, electric cars are currently exempt from registration and road tax. And they are 100% deductible for companies. The government will, therefore, lose these taxes when people switch en masse to electric driving.
According to several experts, it is, therefore, only a matter of time before electric driving will be more heavily taxed. “This is inevitable,” says professor of mobility policy, Bert van Wee of Delft University of Technology in the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws. “Chances are that it will happen everywhere in Europe, via road-pricing.”
According to Jean-Marie Dedecker (LDD), mayor of Middelkerke, the Flemish government will increase taxes on electricity as soon as enough people drive electric. “I have that from a good source. Why do you think there will be smart energy meters?” The majority denies the existence of such a plan.
Jochen De Smet, chairman of the sector federation of electric means of transport, AVERE, would consider the taxation of electric driving via the smart meter an invasion of privacy. He also sees the introduction of smart road-ricing.
Avoiding paying twice
Filip Watteeuw (Groen), the alderman for Mobility in Ghent, calls on the government to work on a road-pricing scheme. “For now, some people pretend that the electric car is a miracle solution, but it is not. It’s good for the climate, but it’s still a car that causes traffic jams just like diesel or gasoline cars,” Watteeuw defends his plea for road-pricing.
By introducing road-pricing, you are taxing the use of cars instead of possession, which the registration tax and annual road tax do. But how do you avoid people paying twice? Because owners of a diesel or gasoline car will have to deal with excise duty at the pump as well as paying to drive their car.” By only applying road-pricing to electric cars,” says van Wee. “But in the long run, it’s best to put everyone on the same system, and abolish traffic taxes as compensation, for example.