The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is calling on the provincial government to delay the electric vehicle tax.
Partnering with the Saskatchewan Electric Vehicle Association, SaskEV, and Telsa Owners Club of Saskatchewan, the groups are calling on the Saskatchewan government to delay the $150 tax that would be contributed to the provincial road maintenance fund.
The tax was put into effect on Oct. 1, 2021. The groups are looking for the government to delay the tax until 10,500 OR 1.3 per cent of the light-duty vehicles on the road are electric.
Jason Cruickshank of SaskEV believes Canada has the resources to manufacture electric cars and could be a world leader in electric car technology.
“An electric vehicle tax creates financial barriers to new low-carbon technologies and sends the wrong message to those looking at investing in our provincial mining industry,” Cruickshank said.
According to the Government of Canada, electric cars are five times more energy-efficient than conventional gas vehicles. They produce zero tail pipe emissions and can run on 100 per cent sustainable renewable resources.
The government said it is not considering changing its approach related to the road use fee on electric passenger vehicles.
Jeff Welke who is the Executive Director, Communications for the Ministry of Finance says that electric vehicles contribute to the wear and tear on provincial roadways, but owners of electric vehicles do not contribute to highway maintenance through the provincial fuel tax.
The road-use fee ensures owners of electric vehicles pay a comparable amount and the revenue from the fee will be dedicated to provincial highway maintenance. The $150 per vehicle fee was based on the average annual fuel tax paid by fuel-powered vehicle owners in Saskatchewan.
There are only about 600 electric vehicles registered in the province currently.
“Starting the tax now tells the world that Saskatchewan doesnt want electric vehicles or the money, jobs, and investment they bring,” Tyler Krause president of the Telsa Owners Club of Saskatchewan said. “The world is transitioning over to electric vehicles. A punitive tax like this makes the Saskatchewan government look backwards, like they are against investment and growth.”
According to the American Lung Association electric vehicles reduce air pollution and save thousands of lives preventing thousands of asthma attacks and save billions of dollars in health benefits.
Matt Pointer who founded the Saskatchewan Electric Vehicle Association said that the tax does not make economical sense.
“This tax will also cost the government to manage, and will likely be eaten up in administration and not even meaningfully contribute towards the $100 million deficit in the road maintenance budget,” Pointer said.