Choosing tax or fat for the environment / Columns / The Foreigner

Choosing tax or fat for the environment. Electric vehicles continue to hit the news. Recent political discussion has revolved around the tax advantages of owning an electric vehicle in Norway. How relevant are the tax breaks? Surely people prefer electric vehicles because they are environmentally friendly. Even if my previous column suggested that the sustainability equation for these vehicles is not easy to solve. Reasons for choosing a private vehicle are always complex. Consider Norway's wealthy communes of Asker and Bærum--also amongst the prolific owners of electric vehicles.

cars, climate, electriccars, co2, emissions, globalwarming, climatechange



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Choosing tax or fat for the environment

Published on Wednesday, 10th September, 2014 at 09:41 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

Electric vehicles continue to hit the news. Recent political discussion has revolved around the tax advantages of owning an electric vehicle in Norway.

Cycling in Boulder, Colorado
Thick snow can be an incentive for people to leave the bicycle at home and take their car instead.Cycling in Boulder, Colorado
Photo: Ilan Kelman


How relevant are the tax breaks? Surely people prefer electric vehicles because they are environmentally friendly. Even if my previous column suggested that the sustainability equation for these vehicles is not easy to solve.

Reasons for choosing a private vehicle are always complex. Consider Norway's wealthy communes of Asker and Bærum--also amongst the prolific owners of electric vehicles.

Some are motivated by environmentalism, presumably. Others, quite fairly, might aim for the tax incentives.

Could part of the reason for electric vehicle popularity in Asker and Bærum be that they can be driven in the bus/taxi lane on the E18 motorway (external link, in Norwegian)? Or perhaps the quicker commute is just a bonus alongside the environmental and financial benefits.

We can hardly blame just Norwegians for seeking multiple advantages. I lived a few years in the US. Not in a gas-guzzling SUV town, but in Boulder, Colorado which prides itself on progressiveness and environmental friendliness.

My volunteer work there introduced me to impressive, committed environmentalists from whom I learned immensely. Yet I would frequently be offered lifts--despite having a bus pass from my workplace and being fortunately healthy enough to cycle and walk in most weather.

Those owning hybrids would apologise for driving, followed by explaining that it is not so bad because their vehicle is a hybrid. Owning an 'environmentally friendly' vehicle increased the amount that they used it and justified that use.

Our innovative technology can help us towards sustainability. We often choose not to help ourselves.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London. He does not drive.



Published on Wednesday, 10th September, 2014 at 09:41 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: cars, climate, electriccars, co2, emissions, globalwarming, climatechange.





  
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