Tesla and EV dominance in Norway causes shortage of fossil fuel cars to tax

Credit: @tesla_adri/Twitter

Tesla and other electric vehicles are beginning to dominate the roads in Norway, leaving very few internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to tax. The “problem” has been long foreseen by those supporting the EV revolution. As one of the first countries to face the challenge, Norway might set an example for future nations on how to handle EV dominance. 

Last month, 11,579 new passenger cars were registered in Norway, 1,369 (-10.6%) fewer cars compared to October 2020, as per the Norwegian Road Traffic Information Council (OFV)

Zero-emission cars made up 70.1% of the auto market in Norway last month, with a total of 8,116 new registrations, up +3.1% year-over-year. The total used imported zero-emission cars registered in October went up +62.4%, too.

The EV transition has created a gaping hole in Norways’s annual revenue. According to the previous Norwegian government—a center-right coalition which was replaced with a center-left minority government in October—EV dominance was creating a $2.32 billion hole in Norway’s annual revenue. 

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Norway implemented rules that provided EVs with exemptions. For instance, EVs were exempted from all toll charges and parking fees. EVs were also allowed to skip traffic by using bus lanes. People who purchased new EVs were exempted from paying hefty taxes like VAT and purchase tax as well. All the policies probably contributed to the transition from ICE vehicles to EV cars today. 

However, EV cars have now gained dominance over Norwegian roads, leaving a vital source of income for the government nearly dried up. Only over 400 new petrol passenger cars and about 300 diesel engine vehicles were registered in October 2021. The marketshare of petrol cars went down from 5.9% in October 2020 to 3.7% last month. The marketshare of diesel engine vehicles also went down from 5.5% in October 2020 to 2.6% this October. Hybrid vehicles took 23.6% marketshare last month, down 27.8% compared to the same time in 2020. 

With fossil fuel cars getting extinct in Norway, the government is thinking of stripping electric vehicles from their exemptions. There seems to be a consensus between Norwegian car associations and environmental groups that four tax policies will come back. 

First, the government may tax plug-in hybrids, which may actually encourage new car buyers to purchase zero-emission or all-electric vehicles. A tax for second-hand EV sales might be implemented as well. The Norwegian government could also introduce a tax for luxury EVs that cost more than $68,650. Lastly, an annual ownership tax for EVs could be resurrected.

Labor Party MP Frode Jacobsen confirmed with WIRED that current proposals include taxes for some plug-in hybrids during budget discussions in the government. He also assured that luxury EV taxes will not be part of next year’s budget.

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Tesla and EV dominance in Norway causes shortage of fossil fuel cars to tax
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