From the “Bee in my bonnet” Column; There is always a consequence

Image Source: Jody Dole/ Stone/ Getty Images

THE spiralling petrol price increase, projected by the AA to reach R20/litre by year end means that those of us that rely on our cars for transportation will be laying out about R1 000 every time we fill up. For many, that means paying more to feed your car than to feed yourself.

What a nice Christmas present on top of all the other increases in food, electricity, water, levies, rates etc. etc.

The petrol price increase will for a great number of us be seen as the last straw and the search for alternative modes of transport will be high on the agenda, but alas, generally poor public transport will mean that many might have to resort to a bicycle.

While the fuel price increase is largely out of our control due to the rapid increase in the price of oil, which recently breached the $85/barrel, the Rand/Dollar exchange rate is something that we can control along with the level of taxation levied on every litre of fuel.

But that requires competence, commitment and astute financial management by the exchequer – all of which are in short supply – and a fundamental about turn in the ANC’s socialistic policies, which like lemmings, are leading us to the edge of the cliff and a fatal drop…

“The total levies combined in 2021 are expected to deliver around R126 billion to government with around R83 billion coming from the GFL(General Fuel Levy) and R43 billion coming from the RAF (Road Accident Fund) Levy. The tax collected from the GFL goes directly to Treasury and can be used for any purpose that the government determines.” – AA.

We all know that the RAF is bankrupt and it’s no wonder – it’s a government dept. If third party insurance were made compulsory, then would we need a RAF levy?

But what of EV’s – electric vehicles? While there is a significant swing to this mode of transport worldwide, especially now that virtually all the major vehicle manufacturers are committed to discontinue the manufacture of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles by 2035. Predictions and analysis by research companies show that the world sales of EV’s in 2021 will top 6,4 million vehicles.

Worldwide bread and butter EV’s are comparable in price to the ICE equivalent and the choice citizens enjoy means that there is strong competition amongst brands. Some countries subsidise the cost price to encourage usage and of course they have a stable electricity supply which ensures you have the juice to run the thing when you need it.

Neither of the foregoing are present in South Africa, in fact the government positively discourages EV ownership my slapping an additional 7% more import duty on those admittedly high priced EV’s that are available including Porsche, Jaguar, BMW and soon Audi  – hardly run of the mill brands.

Why that should be is baffling or perhaps not. One would think that making EV’s more price accessible would mean that more people would want to own one with environmental benefits plus the prospect of reducing fuel spend by at least two thirds, coupled with vastly reduced maintenance bills. Eskom would benefit with the sale of more electricity in off peak hours without having to install more generating capacity (in a perfect world) but the fiscus would suffer as the amount of fuel tax collected would be reduced.

The roll out of home and a convenient charging infrastructure would create a new industry, much needed jobs and payola for shopping centre managers, municipalities and parking garages via charging for charging whilst parking.

On the flip side, the oil companies, garages and pump jockeys will lose out as well as the automotive repair industry.

But that is a long term scenario and surely the same thing happened to the horse and cart industries when the ICE vehicles arrived; blacksmiths, wheelwrights, horse breeders etc.

Clearly something has to change as ICE vehicles will not be available post 2035 yet the local motor vehicle manufacturers and organisations such as the RMI remain deathly quiet pending discussions with government. This sector employs many thousands of workers and while the conversion to EV’s won’t happen overnight, it will come and it would be nice to know that we are prepared and have a plan.

After all, we are good at producing plans in this country, but sorely lacking at implementation.

Eish.

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