The Government of Saskatchewan last week announced a new $150 annual fee for electric vehicle owners that will go into effect October 1, 2021.
It is described as an effort to recoup fuel tax money from residents who drive fully electric vehicles.
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“These vehicles contribute to wear and tear on provincial roadways, but because they do not consume traditional fuels they are not contributing to highway maintenance through the provincial Fuel Tax," the government said in its budget.
There are only 403 electric vehicles registered in Saskatchewan at the moment.
A Shocking Decision
While many governments around the world are trying to drive sales of electric vehicles through generous incentives (including up to $5,000 from Ottawa), the decision by Saskatchewan to tax customers is rather shocking.
For Joel Bruneau, associate professor and economic department head at the University of Saskatchewan, this new tax is the complete opposite of what actually needs to be done.
“This is clearly a slap in the face of people who believe in climate change and believe that they have a personal responsibility and they should do something about it,” he told CTV News.
In his opinion, the provincial government is sending a negative message about vehicle electrification.
“You put a tax on things to discourage people from engaging in those activities, so what the province is signalling is, you shouldn’t be using EVs,” he added.