Booming electric car sales under fire in Norway

Booming electric car sales under fire in Norway

OSLO - Ministers in Norway -- a major and rich oil-producing country -- are under increasing public pressure to reduce perks and tax breaks for booming electric car sales.

"It's become a problem," said Erik Haugstad, a bus driver in the Oslo region who complains about the numerous electric cars clogging bus lanes, which they have the right to use in Norway.

The cars are also exempt from urban toll payments or fees at public parking spaces, where they can recharge batteries without cost.

But above all, they are exempt from Norway's sky high sales taxes and VAT.

Norway brought in the generous incentives to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions from traffic, which accounts for 10 per cent of total emissions in the Nordic nation.

The policy has been so successful that 32,000 electric cars are now on the road -- by far the highest rate per capita in the world, in a country with a 5.1 million population.

"I'm a bus driver and I want to transport my passengers as quickly as possible. So, I'd like electric cars to leave the bus lanes, where they're getting in my way," Haugstad said.

"These delays have a cost for society. Time lost by thousands of our passengers in traffic is far greater than that gained by a few dozen electric car drivers."

He said the cars can create a vicious circle -- tired of being stuck in traffic, bus users could be tempted to buy an electric car themselves, worsening the congestion problem.

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