Usually when one hears the term “Public Transport” one usually thinks about publicly subsidized transit systems like the TTC or GoTransit. But the McGuinty government has added a new possible meaning to that term by deciding to provide significant public subsidies to people who purchase new electric cars. The Ontario government is actually spending tax payer money to help people buy private automobiles. That’s just nuts!
Mitsubishi has just announced the price of their electric car, the i-MiEV. The base model costs around $33,000, while the loaded version will set you back approximately $36,000. But those aren’t the prices that Ontario i-MiEV buyers will be paying because Dalton McGuinty has decided to subsidize the purchase of the i-MiEV to the tune of $8000. Like I said, that’s nuts.
Of course, I’m sure people will say that this kind of thing is necessary to protect our environment, and reduce global warming – except it won’t. According to Environment Canada, the cars and trucks we drive every day account for only 12% of our total greenhouse gas emissions. If you exclude the trucks that really can’t be converted to electric power, like long haul transport trucks, that 12 percent number gets even lower. And we won’t even bother talking about the fact that a significant portion of Ontario’s electricity generation comes from burning fossil fuels, nor will we talk about that fact that ‘electric cars’ like the Chevy Volt, which qualifies for the subsidy, still burn gasoline. And we certainly won’t talk about the environmental impact of building all those highly toxic batteries or the environmental impact of replacing all those batteries when they die (recycling batteries is not an environmentally neutral process). This subsidy program will end up costing millions and will likely have no measurable impact on the environment, either locally or globally. So why are we spending tax payer’s money to subsidize the purchase of private automobiles?
I might be able to understand this program if the bulk of the electric cars were being made in Ontario, but they’re not. So not only won’t Ontario be benefiting environmentally from this government funded giveaway, we won’t be economically benefiting either. To repeat: That’s Just Nuts!