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Why owning an electric car in Norway could become more expensive

Norway’s transport ministry says it is considering scrapping or reducing tax discounts for electric vehicles.

electric cars charging
Norway's government is considering reducing discounts for electric cars. Illustration photo: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Tax and toll deductions for electric cars could soon be scrapped or reduced in Norway’s larger cities as the country’s transport ministry is concerned public transport is losing out to low-emissions vehicles.

Minister of Transport Jon-Ivar Nygård told broadcaster NRK on Tuesday that discounts for electric cars could be withdrawn.

A law previously passed by parliament holds that electric cars should never incur more than 50 percent of the tax applied to petrol and diesel equivalents.

But reduced public transport revenues related to higher electric car use, as well as lower intakes from tolls around Oslo because the rate paid by electric cars is lower, are causing the government to rethink, NRK reports.

The loss in traffic revenues from tolls makes it harder to invest in infrastructure projects, while poorly performing public transport could result in cutbacks, the minister said according to NRK.

“We have seen a trend, especially during the pandemic, that car traffic has returned,” Nygård said to the broadcaster.

“It’s great that people use electric cars. But we are not well served by people get into their cars and drive into busy city areas instead of walking, bicycling or taking public transport,” he also said.

A final decision on the matter is yet to be taken, the minister said.

Norway’s owners’ association for electric cars, Elbilforeningen, said it opposed cutting discounts for green vehicles.

“(The government) is now considering throwing climate politics under the bus. We must remember that over 80 percent of cars in Norway still run on fossil fuels,” the organisation’s general secretary Christina Bu told NRK.

“We know that the toll (discounts) are one of the most important reasons for people choosing electric cars,” she said.

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OSLO

TRANSPORT: What you need to know about Oslo’s Fornebu line

After months of uncertainty, a new metro line between Majorstuen and Fornebu has been given the green light to go ahead by Oslo City Council and Viken County Council. Here’s what residents need to know about the T-bane link. 

TRANSPORT: What you need to know about Oslo’s Fornebu line

A new metro line between Majortstuen in Oslo and Fornebu in Bærum, just west of Oslo, has been given the green light, ending uncertainty over its future for the time being. 

Earlier this year, the project faced the axe due to spiralling costs, which saw the estimated price tag of the new metro line rise by 7 billion kroner. 

Oslo’s newest T-bane line will be the most significant investment in the metro system since the 60s or 70s, according to Sirin Stav from Oslo City Council. 

Since the airport at Fornebu closed in 1998, several links between the peninsula and the city centre have been pitched. 

The new 8-kilometre-long metro line will cost more than 31.0 billion kroner to complete. 

Construction on the project has already begun, and six new underground stations will be built. These are Skøyen, Vækerø, Lysaker, Fornebuporten, Flytårnet and Fornebu Senter. Plans will also see Majorstuen Metro Station upgraded. 

Fornebu, the former site of Oslo Airport, is home to a business park, shopping and residential areas. There are plans to build more than 11,000 new homes in the area and create 20,000 new jobs, according to Oslo Municipality

READ ALSO: What you might not have known about Oslo’s Diechman Bjørvika library

Oslo Municipality hopes the new line will provide an eco-friendly and accessible route between Fornebu and the city centre. Current bus routes are usually pretty busy, leading to many people driving in and out of the former site of Oslo airport. 

The stop at Majorstuen will connect the new line with the existing metro network in Oslo. 

Despite construction already starting nearly two years ago, it is unlikely the new line will open before 2029. 

Financing for the project comes from the government, the municipality, landowners, and the Oslo Package 3 toll agreement. 

As a result of the project going ahead, tolls as part of the Oslo Package 3 agreement will rise by 40 percent. This will happen in two steps, the first from September, with the second rise coming on January 1st 2024. 

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