The federal government needs to adopt road user charging to recover falling fuel excise revenues before electric car drivers get used to paying nothing, the boss of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has warned.

Speaking at the Australian Financial Review’s National Infrastructure Summit, Adrian Dwyer said the next three years are a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to adopt a road user charging model.

He said that in 2019 between 8,000 and 12,000 electric cars will be sold in Australia, Fairfax Media reports, with that number to double in 2020.

Mr Dwyer believes electric car numbers are still low enough to phase in road user charging and phase out fuel excise as painlessly as possible.

“In the not-so-distant future when electric vehicles are the car dealership mainstay, it will simply become too difficult to make this reform a reality,” Mr Dwyer said.

“Currently about $18 billion per year is collected in fuel excise charges, but with the rise of electric vehicles and more efficient modes of transport we can no longer rely on this funding source to pay for and manage our road infrastructure,” he said.

“We need to tell the story that right now, the tradie driving a Holden Commodore is paying vastly more than the inner-city professional driving a Toyota Prius.”

Tesla owners do pay luxury tax on their electric car at the point of purchase but pay nothing at the point of use.

“Yet they benefit from well-serviced roads that other motorists pay hundreds of dollars a year in a tax to use,” Mr Dwyer said.

Extracted from 9Finance