ACCC’s sloppy logic on electric vehicles fails to consider health costs

The ACCC’s claim that pollution-emitting vehicles are unfairly subsidising zero-emission vehicles completely overlooks the enormous health cost to the taxpayer caused by combustion engine vehicles, the Electric Vehicle Council has noted today.

Referring to the fuel excise, ACCC chair Rod Sims is reported as posing the question: “Why should [electric vehicle drivers] have an advantage over people driving petrol cars?”

Yet new research released this year found emissions from combustion engine vehicles in the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong area alone created $3 billion in health costs. Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said given this reality, Mr Sims’s question should be reversed.

“Far from getting an unfair advantage, electric vehicle drivers should be asking why they don’t derive any reward for saving the taxpayer thousands on health costs each year,” Mr Jafari said.

The latest research indicates electric vehicles shave health costs per vehicle by $2,400. Last year, 1224 Australians lost their lives due to vehicle accidents, but 1715 died as a direct result of vehicle pollution.

“Mr Simms’s argument about impacts and burdens might hold some weight if he’d considered the full range of relevant factors,” Mr Jafari said.

“As things stand, his argument is a like claiming smokers unfairly subsidise the health system because of all the tax they pay on cigarettes.

“There’s no doubt a mass transition to electric vehicles will require long-term reform in the way governments collect revenue for roads. But as things stand the minority of drivers who are making the switch to EVs are doing vastly more good than harm to the economy and the public good.

“We would encourage Mr Simms to update his thinking, and his lines, when it comes to this important issue.”

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