Over the years, there’s been a global outcry to reduce the world’s CO2 emissions. Motor vehicles are responsible for about 10% of the emissions, and now, environmentalists, and international governments are continuously looking for effective ways to significantly reduce the damage.
Some of the wealthiest countries have decided to key into electric cars as a lasting solution. Norway is one of the countries leading the charge and others are following their example.
The available government incentives in Norway is one of the major reasons why the country has been able to establish itself as a trend setter in electric vehicle adaptation. 87 percent of the new cars bought in Norway are fully electric cars.
This incredible feat has made the country receive praises from popular global media outlets such as the New York Times and the Guardian. Even international agencies like the Environmental Defense Fund, and the World Economic Forum are impressed by Norway’s efforts. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted last December, “I’d like to thank the people of Norway again for their incredible support of electric vehicles,” he also added, “Norway rocks!!”
Despite all the praises and Norway’s innovative approach to reducing global emission, the country has faced some criticism. The subsidies have widened the gap between the rich and poor as the rich have benefitted from most of the subsidies.
Additionally, the EV wave has caused more Norwegians to own automobiles instead of opting to travel by transit or bicycle. Also, the government has started to ease up on some of its EV subsidies to cushion the negative effect of EV promotion.
The Director of the transportation research center TØI, Bjørne Grimsrud, said “Countries should introduce EV subsidies in a way that doesn’t widen inequality or stimulate car use at the expense of other transport modes, But that’s what ended up happening here in Norway.”
In the last couple of years, Norway has started making efforts to deal with the tension in its car electrification process. As at 2017, EV owners were required to pay for road tolls, parking, and ferries. Now, only the first $45,000 of a new EV’s purchase price is tax-free. Owners of the high-end EVs are also now required to pay an extra fee based on the vehicle’s weight.
According to the transportation state secretary, Kroglund, the need for the change is to make the tax system fairer and to avoid giving benefits for unnecessary things in the attempt to transition to EVs.
Other countries can learn from Norway that focusing on reducing transportation emissions through electric vehicles can worsen the gap of inequality in the society. It took a while before the country started to cap the price of eligible vehicles and restrict the number of EVs that could be bought tax-free.
Norway warns against the downsides of promoting EVs while compromising on systems that are more eco-friendly and beneficial to urban life. Countries need to balance resources necessary for public transportation investments. They need to understand that EVs can’t solve all the emission problems, especially when it comes to transportation.