Government must consider new taxes for 'polluting vehicles', says Cuffe

Government must consider new taxes for 'polluting vehicles', says Cuffe
Picture: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Government must consider new taxes for "polluting vehicles" and should examine what grants are working if it wants to drive ahead with ambitious electric car plans over the next decade, says a Green Party MEP.

Green party MEP Ciarán Cuffe outlined the steps he believes are needed in response to a new report warning that the State faces a €1.5bn tax 'black hole' if it achieves its environment target of 840,000 electric cars on Irish roads by 2030.

In a detailed spending review published on Thursday evening, the Department of Public Expenditure said that while the growth in electric cars is good news for the environment, it poses potentially serious issues for the Irish economy.

Noting the increased demand for the eco-friendly vehicles, the review said that if the 2030 targets are met:

  • Motor, VRT and fuel tax intake slump by €1.5bn over the next decade

  • a €200m electric cars incentive budget due to last a decade may run out in 2021 due to increasing demands

  • and new taxes for fuelled petrol and diesel cars may be needed to balance the books.

    The suggestions have led to fears that the electric cars initiative may not be financially feasible in its current form.

    However, speaking to the Irish Examiner, Green party MEP Mr Cuffe said he believes the potential new taxes and grant cutbacks should be considered if they help with the environmental push: "We have to look very carefully at what delivers carbon reductions.

    The truth is there will be a shortfall in national finances. I suspect we will also have to look at an increase in taxes for polluting vehicles, to get a re-balancing of the tax system.

    "Transport is a huge contributor to climate change, so we should look quite carefully at public transport spending.

    "But we should also look at incentivising for people walking, cycling and using buses, and to look at what incentives work for electric vehicles," Mr Cuffe said.

    The Government's plan to increase the number of electric cars on Irish roads to 840,000 by the end of 2030 is a key part of its climate action plan report, which was published in June - just weeks after the "green wave" local and European elections.

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