Shane Ross really is a tit! The blustering idiot is stamping around at present, shouting at anyone who will listen, that road deaths are squarely down to speeding and alcohol. Never mind that 2017 had the lowest death rate on Irish roads ever. Shane seems not to know that an accident is an event that happens by chance and that it is without apparent or deliberate cause. That’s the definition of the word accident actually. We don’t all head out in our motorised metal boxes each morning to play dodgems on the highway Shane!
Last year, the insufferable Shane introduced a raft of incentives for people to switch to electric cars. Currently there are 900 charging points around the country for the 3,500 electric cars that have been bought. What readers may not know however is that, “The ESB established the network five years ago with the help of funding from the CRU Innovation Fund and Europe and has been maintaining it since through a charge on the bills of every ESB customer, making charging a car free to the owner. But the CRU consultation ended in October, concluding that the network should be sold off by auction — a process likely to take a number of years — and in the meantime the practice of collecting money from all ESB customers should end and electric car owners should start paying at charging points.” I bet you didn’t know that you were subsidising the electricity of 3,500 electric car owners. “Go on ya’ good thing!”
When the funding for Irish Water dried up, (pun,pun), the brains in Leinster House diverted motor tax money, (€950m a year), to prop up the ailing quango. But there’s a catch-22 emerging for Shane. If the motoring public do begin to buy more of these electric cars, (as he dearly wants them to do), the Irish Examiner reports that we may see a €4bn loss from petrol, diesel taxes.
Last year the State extorted from motorists €820m in VRT, €626m in excise duties on petrol, €1440m in excise on diesel, €54m in carbon tax on petrol and €178m in carbon tax on diesel on top of the €950m in road tax.
The Examiner article explores how such a shortfall could be offset by newer taxes of a sort. According to them, “Among the options under consideration is distance pricing that would charge by the kilometre driven, as well as congestion charges for the busiest routes, each using number plate recognition technology or in-car units to track and record motorists as they drive.” Straight away I see a problem. As the article reports, “Emissions from transport grew 3.7% last year and the Government is offering grants, minimal motor tax rates, VRT reliefs and free battery charging at public charge points to encourage motorists to adopt electric with a view to eradicating petrol and diesel from new cars entirely within 12 years. However, while Climate Change Minister Denis Naughten is tasked with pushing electric, Finance Minister Paschal Donohue is determined to protect revenues, so many of the incentives to go electric could be short-lived. The Department of Finance is well aware of the threat to exchequer receipts posed by the potential large-scale adoption of electric vehicles as the vehicle of choice for private motorists,” Mr Donohue’s department said.
OK, In english that means the individual members of the political parties in power currently see it as an advantage for their careers if Johnny-citizen does what he’s told and gets rid of the perfectly good carbon-based family car in favour of one of these electric laddies. They are willing to bribe Johnny-citizen with his own money to do so in fact and a whole pile of us will inevitably fall for it. When the great weight of diesel/petrol cars begins to shift in an electric direction, buy prices will shoot up because of demand. Values for diesel/petrol cars will plummet and where do you trade one in anyway? But as this move begins to take effect, we are supposed to have a dual outcome.
Firstly, our carbon emissions are supposed to fall, right? But second, the cash cow of carbon-based fuel excise will also fall. But then again, demand for electricity must inevitably rise also. However, the Department of Finance can currently rely on fuel excise duties. Take those away and they’ll panic. There is almost bound to be an, I don’t know, an “Electron Consumption Tax,” (ECT), introduced on the basis, I suppose, of the user-pays principle and charged per electron also. After all, you consumed that plate of electricity, you pay for it, right? Maybe because the electric car is so quiet, which means you won’t hear the damn thing coming, perhaps they’ll have a, “Dangerous Silence Tax,” or something. Certainly batteries are problematic to dispose of and I can see a huge fine, ahem, tax, for even owning one of these dangerous polluting devices, especially since you will probably have twelve of them in your electric machine to spark it into life. Then there are emissions and the whole car tax regime at present. Your shiny new electric jalopy will emit shag-all so what tax bracket is that? Do you seriously believe it’s zero? Who’ll pay for Irish Water?
And the irony of all of it is that we still mostly generate electricity in this country through the burning of fossil fuels.
Gas, isn’t it?