The news that the cabinet is considering mixing petrol and diesel with more expensive biofuels and raising the purchase tax on petrol and diesel cars has provoked many reactions. Gasoline and diesel may be about 5 to 10 cents per liter more expensive. And the purchase tax (bpm) may be doubled.
Minister Jetten for Climate and Energy (D66) wants to achieve that fewer ‘fossil’ kilometers are driven and that more people buy a (second-hand) electric car. The NOS received many concerned reactions to this news.
Political reporter Marleen de Rooy: “Various email writers say that many Dutch people cannot afford an electric car at all because those cars are too expensive. And that they are ‘now also being punished even more with expensive petrol’. It increases ‘transport poverty’. “I feel like this government is only for the richer people in this country,” another wrote.
“He can come and live with us”
Another objection is that people outside the Randstad are often dependent on their car because there is insufficient public transport. “He can come and live with us. On the farm 5 km from the village.” They have no real choice, they say. This also applies to people with health problems or disabilities who rely on their car.
There are also more positive reactions, from people who agree with the government’s aim to achieve the climate goals. But then public transport must become better and cheaper, they believe. And electric driving should become affordable for everyone.
Experts and specialists also respond to the plans. According to Martien Visser, lecturer in energy transition at Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, figures show that higher petrol prices do not lead to people taking the car less:
The oil consumption of Dutch road traffic is falling due to new, more efficient petrol/diesel cars and the increase in EVs. Not because of high pump prices. Unless it becomes so expensive that hundreds of thousands can no longer afford a car. Which (just) policy do you propose? #graphoftheday
April 19, 2023
Car industry association Bovag endorses the cabinet’s climate goals, but believes that driving should remain affordable. The full switch to electric driving will take a long time, said chairman Han ten Broeke on the radio program Spraakmakers. “There are now 360,000 electric cars in the Netherlands out of a total of 9 million. That is much less than people assume.”
Until then, the alternatives, including cars that run on petrol or diesel, must remain affordable, says Ten Broeke: “The fact that the cabinet is now thinking about renewable fuels is positive, but they should not become too expensive.” Earlier, Bovag, together with, among others, the ANWB and Natuur en Milieu, proposed to focus more on biofuels. Because they are more expensive, Bovag proposed to lower the excise duties on biofuels.
According to Herman Vollebergh, professor of economics and environmental policy at Tilburg University, the cabinet could also consider encouraging people to buy more fuel-efficient petrol cars. “The new models are all more economical.” He suggested on NPO Radio 1 to introduce a scrapping scheme, where you get money when you hand in your old car.
Politicians are also wondering what contribution cleaner driving can make to achieving the climate goals. And what effects that will have on citizens and businesses. And then driving a car is only a small part of the total package of climate measures proposed by Minister Jetten.
The cabinet and the coalition factions of VVD, D66, CDA and CU are discussing it again today. The discussion is sensitive for the VVD as a ‘car party’. But that certainly also applies to D66 as a ‘climate party’. The aim is to have made decisions about it before 1 May.
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