Äripäev journalist: Taxing e-vehicles is equitable

Karl-Eduard Salumäe in the 'Ringvaade' studio.
Karl-Eduard Salumäe in the 'Ringvaade' studio. Source: ERR

Since larger electric vehicles impose a more significant environmental footprint, taxing these is both fair and reasonable, Äripäev journalist Karl-Eduard Salumäe says.

The government aims to have a car tax in place by the new year, though its details are still being determined.

Speaking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade," Salumäe, who is also a motoring enthusiast said that imposing a car tax on electric vehicles would be fair, since these types of cars also see difference in terms of environmental footprint, across different makes and types.

"One electric car might be rated at 25Kwh of energy consumption per 100km, while another might consume 35Kwh, so a larger-capacity electric car has a bigger footprint," he said.

By way of a real-life example, the news that former prime minister Taavi Rõivas would have to pay €268 per year for his e-vehicle made sense because it is a model with a high energy consumption level, Salumäe said.

This means that the public should make reasonable and rational choices when picking an electric car, given that the car tax is in effect an environmental one, while the state's aim is to encourage the use of smaller and more economical vehicles of all kinds.

"To reiterate – taxing an electric car, particularly an expensive and new one, is completely understandable," he said.

Estonia has been up to now on of the few EU nations where there is currently no car tax of any kind, he noted.

"For about two years now, one of the criteria has been that upon initial registration, if the car's curb weight exceeds 1,800kg, a one-time payment of €10 per excess kilo must be made. This fits in with the idea and purpose of people driving as big a car as they really need. We have many people who do need a larger car. But if the idea of ​​this car tax is to direct us towards a more environmentally friendly and green lifestyle and choices, then the unladen weight of a car's mass, which for various reasons swells up like yeast on new cars - paying attention to this is the correct step," Salumäe went on.

Avoiding a system such as that in place in Finland, where the car tax is tied to the car's price, is worthwhile, he added.

This is mainly because purchase prices can be easily manipulated, something Salumäe said Finance Minister Mart Võrklaev had noted.

"Even in the case of a new car, for example, part of the price of the car could be hidden in abnormally large servicing bills," he said, referring to one of the ways asking prices can be manipulated.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: Ringvaade", interviewer Anna Pihl

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