Will electric cars lead to a road tax in Jersey?

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St Clement Deputy Lindsay Ash has warned that car tax will need to keep funding the work needed to maintain the Island’s roads. Unlike the UK, drivers in Jersey do not pay road tax, just a goods and services tax on a new car or tax on fuel.

Registrations for diesel and petrol cars are down, with electric car numbers increasing on the Island’s roads. In 2016, 50 electric cars were registered, with the figure increasing to 156 last year.

But as electric vehicles become more popular, less money will come into States coffers from fuel tax, meaning that road tax might have to be brought to the table, according to Deputy Ash.

He said: ‘Guernsey has discussed a new type of car tax dependent on how many miles you do, but that won’t be the case here.

‘You can’t have someone in a small car paying the same as a big people carrier.

‘But here the road tax issue will need to be addressed, because of the big rise in electric cars.

‘Fuel tax will go down, but roads still need to be paid for – maintenance, road signage, line marking and other things.

‘That is why a road tax will need to be considered to cover this.’

Government figures show that the amount raised in fuel tax between 2016 and 2017 actually rose, from £21.855 million to £22.796 million.

For 2018, the figure was down to £22.105 million.

Deputy Ash said he did not know when such a tax would come into place, but added: ‘It will be looked at because these things need to be paid for somehow.

‘The shortfall would only occur should, or when, electric cars come in, as obviously then no petrol tax would be levied.

‘As to the amount or method of car tax, it would not be possible to even speculate, due to the fact we haven’t yet decided whether this will be the route we wish to go down.

‘Should it be decided, my own personal preference would be a graded scale, rewarding smaller vehicles and penalising cars less suited to Island roads.’

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