COLUMN: Carbon tax on gas-guzzlers fails to fire a spark

Switching drivers over to greener vehicles is going to take a lot more than just empty promises.

This wasn’t my first all-candidates meeting rodeo. Last time it involved some swearing. I think even a shoe was thrown across the room.

Last week’s meeting at EMCS was far more civilized, expected, with Mayor Maja Tait at the helm as moderator.

The hot topic that night was reducing the carbon footprint that we leave daily the very moment we turn an engine on. A whole bunch of pie-in-the-sky (albeit good) ideas were tossed around, including the idea of taxing carbon and feeding back that cash into Canadians’ pockets.

Sounds great, but how will that get back into my pocket? Will that taxation (which, for my seal-clubbing, gas-burning ‘93 Explorer is probably close to execution) roll back into my pocket as incentives to switch over to an electric car?

I seriously doubt it, though maybe if I gave in to the same kind of wishful thinking of politicians, I’d have an electric car by now. Classic case in point was a comment by Green candidate Frances Litman, which of course, gathered high applause.

“We’re realistic, we understand we’re using oil and gas every day and we have plastics, but we need to ween ourselves from this extract and export system that we’re in.”

While I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Litman’s statement, again, I keep wondering, how are we going to ween ourselves from those sources? Reality is, we cannot just simply displace millions of drivers who rely on their petrol vehicles without giving them an alternative they can actually afford.

Bottom line is, both electrics and hybrids are still hilariously expensive.

Telsa has made huge leaps in the last 10 years or so in regards to its development of the Model S, its drivetrain and battery range, but the cheapest model is still $65K.

Sure, a new, even cheaper model will be available this fall for the rest of us mortals, but it’s still going to cost a minimum of $30K. You could even look at the Nissan Leaf, a full electric hatchback, or the Chevy Volt or Toyota Prius, both of which still rely on petrol engines to recharge their batteries.

No doubt, all great alternatives, but who can afford them?

You want to encourage people going towards alternatives such as hybrids or plug-in electrics? Bring the cost down. Bring the taxes down. Put the incentives on steroids and make them in the thousands. Lower the apple to the rest of us mortals who cannot afford $500 a month for a new car, let alone a hybrid or electric.

Bold promises may bring thundering applause, but solid delivery that you can actually feel in your pocket is what makes the real difference.

•••

Octavian Lacatusu is a News Mirror reporter. He can be reached by email at news@sookenewsmirror.com.

 

Just Posted

VicPD return Victoria fugitive from France for attempted murder trial

Sebastien Normandin, 49, charged with attempts to hit former girlfriend with car

MISSING: Sidney/North Saanich RCMP seek help finding Peninsula man

Vincent Olsen was last heard from on Oct. 21

Judge deems enough evidence to prove no consent in Victoria sexual assault

Security camera footage, two witnesses to 2016 incident presented during trial

Colquitz River salmon draw school kids and passerbys alike

Seventy salmon counted passing through the fish fence since September

Island Health reminds parents to make sure children are up to date with chickenpox vaccine

Symptoms include fever, aches, tiredness, headache, loss of appetite and red spots on the body

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Federal election saw 66% of registered voters hit the polls across Canada

Roughly 18 million people cast their ballots, voting in a Liberal minority government

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: SFU prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

Most Read