BMW New Zealand chief executive, Mark Gilbert, has joined the automotive industry chorus urging the government to drop Road User Charges on diesel cars
Car industry bosses, notably Philip Eustace, the CEO of Hyundai NZ whose range is skewed heavily towards diesels, have made repeated calls to the Clark and now Key governments to drop or modify the RUCs.
In the past year, BMW has seen its sales shift towards diesels, with 54 percent of the cars it sold in 2008 being diesel-powered.
Gilbert says the charges are “unfair, counter-productive and behind the times. The fuel economy and low CO2 emissions of clean diesel cars offer an enormous environmental benefit.
“However, in New Zealand these cars are penalised with the same levy placed on commercial trucks, almost completely eroding the cost-benefit of buying a fuel-efficient vehicle," he said.
Gilbert says NZ could make quick, easy gains in reducing CO2 emissions from cars by “removing the penalties placed on fuel-efficient diesel cars under the Road User Charges system.
"Today's clean diesel passenger cars allow motorists to reduce their fuel usage and CO2 emissions which should surely be encouraged not taxed.”
He’s suggesting a differentiated licensing system, or to have levies incorporated into the cost of diesel, as viable alternatives to Road User Charges.
A group formed in August 2008 to conduct an independent review of Road User Charges is due to report its findings to the Minister of Transport in March.