Road users could be forced to pay a petrol tax to drive through Sydney‘s CBD under a bold measure to reduce carbon emissions – sparking backlash from motorists.
A new green transport strategy adopted by the City of Sydney council recommends lobbying the NSW government to introduce a low emissions zone to encourage a shift to electric vehicles.
The plan has been endorsed by Lord Mayor Clover Moore and councillors as part of the city’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2035.
London introduced a ultra-low emission zone in 2019, and enforces a daily charge of $23.80 for diesel cars and other vehicles, including trucks, that do not meet the required emissions standards.
‘Transport accounts for around 20 per cent of total emissions in our area and a shift to electric vehicles is an important part of our net zero goal,’ the City of Sydney strategy states.
‘A low emissions zone in the city centre could create a springboard for a citywide system.
‘We will advocate for the rapid transition of commercial vehicles, including for relevant subsidies and incentives available for work-related vehicles. Moreover, a low emissions zone could help promote fleets’ uptake of electric vehicles.’
‘There is an opportunity for broader road pricing, incorporating motorway tolls into a more comprehensive system that focuses on distance travelled, congestion and emissions,’ the strategy states.
‘It could also encompass various parking charges, such as the parking space levy, to ensure a more coherent focus on travel demand management. Any subsidies or incentives should, as a priority, support people to not use cars ahead of facilitating uptake of electric vehicles.’
But the measure has been criticised as Sydney road users grapple with a burgeoning cost-of-living crisis while driving in one of the world’s most-tolled cities.
Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone slammed the move, pointing to how residents in the city’s west are already paying exorbitant toll fees.
‘All it will do is create a Sydney of two cities where half the population is paying more on the roads than the other,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
Motorists also expressed concern over the cost of shifting to an electric vehicle, which the strategy explained was $28,000 more expensive than a petrol car on average in NSW.
A lack of infrastructure for electric vehicles was also flagged as an issue, but the council has plans in place to build more infrastructure to support the transition.
The transport strategy has been supported by the NSW branch of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association.
The state government has not yet indicated it will take up the measures outlined.
There has also been no details on how a tax would apply to petrol vehicles or what the fee would be.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the City of Sydney council over the plan.
Extracted in full from: Tax on petrol cars could be introduced in Sydney CBD to reduce carbon emissions | Daily Mail Online