Report: Tesla lobbied for higher taxes on gas and diesel vehicles in the UK

Tesla lobbied the United Kingdom government to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel cars in order to fund higher subsidies for electric cars, The Guardian reported Tuesday. The automaker proposed both increased fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel, as well as a charge on internal-combustion car purchases, the paper reported, citing documents submitted to the […]

Tesla lobbied the United Kingdom government to raise taxes on gasoline and diesel cars in order to fund higher subsidies for electric cars, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

The automaker proposed both increased fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel, as well as a charge on internal-combustion car purchases, the paper reported, citing documents submitted to the government.

“Supporting zero-emissions vehicle uptake via mechanisms to make new fossil-fueled cars pay for the damage they cause is entirely reasonable and logical,” Tesla wrote in the documents, dated last July.

Tesla said £3,000 (about $4,200 at the time of writing) grants for electric cars would be “revenue neutral,” provided the government also brought in £49 ($68) per gasoline and diesel car sold in the U.K., based on 2019 sales figures. That would have to rise to £750 ($1,050) per gasoline and diesel car once EVs reached 20% market share, Tesla said.

Diesel taxis in London (Image by Flickr user Lars Ploughmann, used under CC license)

Diesel taxis in London (Image by Flickr user Lars Ploughmann, used under CC license)

The automaker also argued for a zero-emission vehicle mandate similar to what’s already in place in its home state of California, the report said. Both the UK and California are moving to end sales of new internal-combustion vehicles by 2035.

In the United States, some state governments are considering doing the opposite of what Tesla reportedly proposed for the UK.

The rise of electric cars has led to concerns over lost gas-tax revenue, leading to proposals for extra fees or, in one case, labelling electricity as fuel and taxing it like gasoline or diesel.

However, the federal gas tax hasn’t adequately funded road maintenance for some time. Even President Donald Trump indicated support for a 25-cent gas-tax boost in 2018 to bring in more revenue. Nothing came of that, though.