Cycling advocates say 'get used to petrol hikes'
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) says fuel price hikes are inevitable over the foreseeable future, so motorists need to get used to them, or drive less.
CAN also calls for the government to increase fuel taxes to help wean New Zealand off its car addiction.
CAN spokesperson Axel Wilke says ‘CAN calls for “tax shifting”, where government increases petrol taxes and introduces diesel excise tax while reducing company and income taxes. We need urgent measures to encourage more sustainable travel in line with the New Zealand Transport Strategy. Increasing the petrol price helps reduce dependence on the car, but on its own also has negative impacts for consumers, and for disadvantaged groups especially. Countries such as Austria, Finland, Germany and Sweden use tax-shifting successfully and New Zealand should follow suit.’
As a result CAN says people will have real incentives to walk, cycle and use public transport more, while also saving money and staying healthier.
Wilke comments, ‘New Zealand has amongst the lowest fuel taxes and prices at the pump in the western world. But the transport sector uses more energy than any other sector and is also the fastest growing, with its carbon emissions growing in parallel. Transport's impacts on the environment, as well as other sectors, are significant. For example, transport-related health conditions are a major cost in the health sector. Tax shifting works and makes more sense than emissions trading, for example, because it is more targeted and doesn’t hit the ordinary consumer as hard.’
CAN believes that petrol and diesel excise should be increased by 20 cents/litre now, , and by an additional 10 cents/litre/year in subsequent years. This increase is likely to be minor relative to the increases that will occur regardless. Petrol prices have increased by more than 30 cents per litre in the last year.