I want a Hybrid

Having written in my last article about the need to have minimal import duties on hybrid vehicles, I decided to do a follow-up to check which countries encourage their citizens to purchase hybrids, and the success of their programs. Here are some of the programmes that I found being implemented as of today:-

  • The Belgian Government offers reduction in prices of up to 15% for cars that have lower Carbon Dioxide exhaust.

  • The Canadian national Government offers a rebate to those citizens who purchase or lease a hybrid vehicle, while the provincial governments offer incentives of their own.

  • Hybrid vehicles in the UK are generally offered parking incentives. Drivers who register their hybrid are exempt from the £8 daily congestion charge.

  • The federal government of the USA offers tax credits to purchasers until a certain number of vehicles have been sold by a manufacturer. These credits range from roughly $750 to $3500. State governments provide their own tax incentives. In Los Angeles and San Jose, hybrid vehicles are exempt from parking fees till the year 2011. New York offers 10% discount for those using the NYS Thruway toll system.

  • The Netherlands reduced the tax for cars with low CO2 emissions to 14%, and increased that of others to 25% from 22%. As a result, in the month of January alone, more than 1800 such vehicles were sold. Importers have already indicated that they would not be able to meet with the demand this year.

  • In Sweden, private purchasers of environment friendly vehicles are given SEK 10,000 (equivalent of USD 1700) after six months of ownership to stimulate sales and use of such vehicles. The Government has stated the subsidy program as a success.

These Governments acknowledge the importance of hybrid vehicles in today’s world. Alternative fuels are the future, as we all know that sooner or later there won’t be sufficient crude oil for us to live on. Finding an alternative fuel and bringing it into the market won’t be easy, and so, hybrids can serve as a stopgap measure until then. If the Prime Minister truly believes in the austerity drive he wants implemented, he must appreciate the advantages that a plan like one of the aforementioned can bring.

It’s never too late to formulate such plans. Providing subsidies in petrol prices to consumers isn’t going to help us in the future. If not now, rationing would have to begin later. Quick fix solutions would help in no way at all and will only lead to the complete ruining of our nation. Hybrid vehicles offer us a way to consume less fuel and save the environment, without requiring the individual consumer to give up the luxury of a personal car. And as for political ambitions, majority of the youth would applaud such a move by the government, hence being more than willing to vote it back into power. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Raveesh Bhalla

[Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonk/535063371/]