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Used car dealers lobby for hybrids
Shastri BoodanUsed car dealers want government to ease restrictions on importations of electric and hybrid vehicles. Visham Babwah, head of the T&T Automotive Dealers Association (TTADA), told the T&T Guardian the association recently raised the issue with Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine when they met with him to discuss prospects for more widespread use of CNG. “We let the minister know that before CNG could take off there must be adequate stations in place,” Babwah said.
“To reduce the fuel subsidy the government must look at hybrid and electric cars as alternatives for the short, medium and long term. Hybrid and electric cars are the future of vehicles. No infrastructure is needed for hybrid and electric vehicle, we can see an immediate reduction in consumption of gas and thus a reduction in the use of subsidised fuel. Even some of the electric vehicles can have their batteries by solar power panels thus reducing costs even further to the sate and the consumer.”
Babwah said the minister sounded encouraging. “We are asking that the tax exemption given to new cars be applicable to six year old hybrid and electric vehicles. We want to play our part in reducing the fuel subsidy. The hybrid uses premium fuel that has a minimum subsidy. Babwah said the TTADA wants to meet with officials of Customs and Excise to discuss classification of electric engines for tax purposes.
“We expect a lot of bureaucracy with Customs on this matter unless the relevant ministries intervene to apply taxes to electric vehicles. An electric vehicle can cost consumers less than $100,000 before taxes. Unless a proper tax structure is worked out quickly there would be problems to import electric vehicles,” he said.