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New data from Transport Canada suggests that the Trudeau government's electric car rebate is the costliest climate change program implemented to date, Blacklock's Reporter has reported.
The program, which has costed taxpayers over $186 million according to data obtained from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has cut an estimated 207,600 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This works out to costing taxpayers nearly $900 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. 60,000 Canadians have received rebates for electric car purchases under the program, which was budgeted at $300 million.
The rebate only applies to electric cars costing less than $45,000 to purchase, leaving more expensive brands like Tesla out of reach for those looking to take advantage of the rebate. Electric cars have frequently been criticized as unaffordable and impractical for ordinary people.
Others, however, have suggested that the problem is a lack of infrastructure. Charging stations are hard to come by in Canada, making it difficult for electric car owners to travel long distances. The government announced in February that they would budget an additional $300 million to support the construction of electric vehicle infrastructure across the country.
Some provinces provide their own rebates for electric car purchases. While such programs continue to exist in British Columbia and Quebec, the Progressive Conservative government in Ontario repealed their rebate, the most generous in the country, as part of a set of cost-cutting measures in a province which faced mounting deficits and debt. A similar incentive program exists in the United States as well.
Sau Sau Liu, the spokeswoman for Transport Canada, did not deny the accuracy of the numbers. Rather, she argued that the numbers are misleading over the long term.
“Multiplying 60,000 zero-emission vehicles by the 3.46 tonnes saved per vehicle yields a reduction of 207,600 tonnes per year from those vehicles,” Liu stated. “This represents a reduction of 2,491,200 tonnes when calculated over the lifetime for those vehicles, assumed to be about twelve years."
Upon the initiation of the program, then-Environment Minister Catherine McKenna boasted the lack of greenhouse gas emissions produced by electric cars. Further efforts to support the electric car industry were announced in the government's recent throne speech.
The government has stated in the past that they want all vehicles on the road to be carbon-free by 2040.