Getting taxed because they can’t afford to go green

For someone earning the annual minimum wage of €1,723.8 per month, buying a pre-owned electric car could cost most of their annual wage. Grants and incentives are not enough to cover the costs of going emission free. A pre-owned 2012 Nissan costs between 6,700-8,000 which, due to its battery deteriorating after around 100,000 miles, will last only a short amount time. Its newer variant, Nissan Leaf XE, is €28,145, not including insurance, equivalent to 17 months of minimum wage.

Getting carbon free alternatives is a cheaper alternative in regards of insurance and carbon tax for those in higher earning households, but unrealistic for those earning less without a loan.

Emission taxes are a more forceful attempt at converting drivers, though for many this only adds to their costs due to expensive cars being almost unaffordable.

Increases in carbon tax since the 2021 budget will mean an extra €1.51 for a 60-litre fill of diesel and €1.30 for petrol. “Hiking fuel costs [via carbon tax] accomplishes absolutely nothing for the environment and only serves to increase living costs for many people across Ireland who are reliant on their ordinary, modest car,” AA’s Conor Faughnan said.

Rising fuel taxes adds to the already high cost for novice and learner drivers having to buy preowned cars on a low budget. A large portion of these new drivers are currently renting and on average spend 36% of their monthly income on rent, according to The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rental sector survey.

The lack of charging points for e-cars in Meath, 12 in the entire county with the closest one being in Navan, makes it unviable for many renters. Many fear of being kicked out of their rental home for a myriad of reasons or are saving up for a mortgage, making home charging points a bad investment.  

Adding carbon emission taxes to the private driving industry, which only accounts for twenty percent of Ireland’s pollution, but has been the primary target in climate change legislation.

The price for buying cheaper pre-owned cars, which is the only viable option for many buying electric cars, is more expensive after Brexit took place. Adding rising fuel costs and other expenses due to co2 emission taxes make cars an expensive commodity for any on tight budgets.

There is currently no incentive for businesses to provide employees with electric cars as no grants apply for companies as it only applies for individuals. “Why would a company voluntarily pay €5,000 more for an EV than a private individual when the car will be worth the same in both cases when it is resold?” Stephen Gleeson, managing director of Hyundai Ireland said.

Vans and trailers are a necessity for many independent workers, especially if transporting large amounts of material to and from rural areas. Electric vans are an expensive alternative with the Nissan Kangoo, the cheapest one available in Ireland, costing €18,500 when pre-owned. Comparatively, the 2012 Volkswagen costs €5,000 to €7,500 and its 2019 version being €14,000.

vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway, and the UK in 2019 emitted on average €158.4 g CO2/km, meaning the average carbon emission tax for van drivers is €270.

Encouraging drivers to use public transport would both decrease carbon emissions and traffic congestion in busy areas as less people drive to work. Both the cost and accessibility of this deter many from using it, however, as there is only one rail line in Meath East just outside Dunboyne. Buses are both notoriously late and expensive for commuters, costing people working in Dublin almost fifty euro a week. Hydrogen buses were recently implemented, an eco-friendly alternative, so increasing bus coverage and cutting ticket prices will benefit the environment more then increasing fuel prices ever will.

Meath is the only county in Ireland with more commuters leaving the county daily compared to working within county borders. Most work in or around Dublin, its centre being around a 30km drive for those in Meath East with other areas being longer journeys due to weaker road links. Journey time varies greatly with rush hour being a massive clog taking at worst several to get through. Both commuters and the environment are affected greatly by this journey done twice daily by some five times a week.

A much-needed rail line from Dublin to Navan via Dunshaughlin is currently in the works, though this has not been made definite as of yet. A confirmation will be made in the coming with Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann Jim Meade

Young drivers and working-class commuters have to cope with extra costs they cannot avoid with only more well-off citizens able to turn electric and enjoy benefits of grants and cheaper expenses. Despite environmental solutions benefiting these demographics being available, none were implemented.

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