One of the important ways we can move to a cleaner, greener lifestyle is to move away from petrol or diesel fuelled vehicles to electric vehicles.
We in the North West have the added incentive to move to electric vehicles as copper is a crucial component of EV technology - the electric vehicle industry needs up to four times the amount of copper traditional cars need Plus we have reserves of cobalt which are also important for the battery supply.
However we have a long way to go with little or no charging stations out this way and little incentive yet for drivers to change their behavour.
In Australia, there are several ways motorists contribute to federal and state funded road maintenance and infrastructure. These include vehicle registration, tolls, GST and insurance premiums. Motorist also pay around 50 cent per litre fuel excise collected from service stations by the Australian Tax Office.
The fuel excise in Australia contributes $13 billion per year to our roads. The vast majority of EV owners avoid the fuel excise completely as they eschew fossil fuels and charge their vehicles privately. As EVs gain popularity in Australia, finding a practicable solution to the loss in revenue generated by the fuel excise is under review by the Federal Government.
MTA Queensland Group Chief Executive Dr Brett Dale believes caution needs to be applied to ensure barriers are not created that prevent the uptake of EVs citing the significant upfront cost associated with the cars.
"Currently, Australia offers little incentive for EV uptake and we must realise their potential- not just for reducing emissions but for possible onshore manufacturing and jobs if the demand is met," Dr Dale said.
"The push for road tax reform is swiftly approaching and MTA Queensland supports the user-pay approach providing an equitable solution for all road users. This system is based on a tax payment associated with the distance a vehicle has travelled, rather than its fuel source."
He wants Australia to follow other countries who provide price subsidies and tax reductions, exemptions and credits to encourage the uptake of EVs.