Monday, August 19, 2019

Winning the battle on feebates

It looks like the government has won over the public on its vehicle feebate scheme:

A feebate scheme that would transfer hundreds of millions of dollars from buyers of higher-emission cars into the pockets of people buying EVs and other more fuel-efficient vehicles has been winning favour with submitters, the Government says.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said about 80 per cent of the online responses the Transport Ministry had so far received in response to a discussion paper on the feebate scheme and an associated "clean car standard" had supported the policies.

And its obvious why: because raising vehicle fuel efficiency standards and making drivers of dirty cars pay for clean ones is a no-brainer, and people can see it has been successful overseas. The problem is that it doesn't go far enough - standards imposed too slowly, and no final cutoff for fossil fuels - not that its a bad idea.

And meanwhile, National is still trying to pretend that its a "tax grab" or solely about subsidising expensive electric vehicles and luxury cars. Its not. The policy is designed to be roughly revenue neutral, and drivers of gas-guzzling utes will mostly be paying to subsidise fuel efficient fossil-fuel vehicles, like Honda Fits and Nissan Notes. Sure, Leafs and expensive new EVs will also get a subsidy - but they make up only 2% of new registrations, and while that number will increase, its very obviously not where the money will be going. Its an utterly dishonest position. But I guess that's the National Party for you: preferring deceit to honest policy criticism.