Tesla has lobbied the UK government to increase taxes on petrol and diesel vehicles as a way to incentivize the purchase of all-electric cars. Tesla’s efforts also encouraged the UK government to initiate an eventual ban on hybrid vehicles.
Tesla is calling for a rise in fuel duty and a charge on petrol and diesel car purchases, which would, in turn, pay for grants and tax breaks like a VAT exemption for battery-powered cars. If successful, Tesla’s lobbying efforts could make EVs much cheaper and fossil fuel-powered vehicles thousands of pounds more expensive.
“Supporting zero-emissions vehicle uptake via mechanisms to make new fossil-fueled cars pay for the damage they cause is entirely reasonable and logical. The result can be a revenue-neutral system for the government,” Tesla wrote in its filings, which were retrieved by The Guardian.
Tesla is yet to provide a comment about its lobbying efforts in the UK.
While higher taxes on fossil-fueled cars could very well accelerate the world’s adoption of sustainable transportation, governments typically end up hesitating due to the threat of political backlash. In the UK alone, the Conservative government has frozen fuel duty for over a decade, a subsidy for petrol and diesel that is estimated to have been worth over £50 billion ($69 billion).
Lobbying efforts against government initiatives aimed at banning petrol and diesel cars, including hybrids, have been opposed by some of Tesla’s competitors in the automotive industry. Back in November, the government noted that hybrid vehicles would still be allowed until 2035, five years later than the initial 2030 goal. Traditional automakers lauded the announcement.
Interestingly enough, submissions reviewed by The Guardian revealed that Tesla was the only automaker that argued in favor of a total ban on all petrol and diesel cars, including a ban by 2032 on hybrid vehicles. Tesla’s stance mirrored that of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, which also noted that hybrid vehicles should be banned in 2032.
Tesla’s lobbying efforts did not only call for higher taxes for fossil-fueled cars and VAT exemptions for battery-electric vehicles. The company also noted that automakers must be required to sell a proportion of zero-emissions vehicles in their lineup. Tax breaks for corporate car users who utilize battery-electric cars, a “charging promise” from the government that could increase the number of public charging stations, and an initiative that would result in people being paid to switch away from fossil-fueled vehicles, were suggested by Tesla as well.
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