The shift to electric vehicles is the greatest change to the automobile market since the invention of the windshield wiper. The Green Party of Ontario is making it a matter of policy to encourage you to trade in your gas-powered car for an EV and on Friday leader Mike Schreiner and deputy leader Dianne Saxe held a virtual press conference to tell Ontarians that they should have an easier time getting into an EV.
“I hear from people across the province that Ontarians are getting gouged to the gas pump. Gas prices are up over $1.50 a litre again today, and as high as $1.58 a litre in the GTA. That means it’s costing many Ontarians over $100 just to fill up their tank, and experts are predicting that gas prices will only continue to go up,” Guelph MPP Schreiner explained.
“That’s why the Ontario Greens are committed to getting Big Oil out of your wallet by making electric vehicles more affordable for the average Ontarian,” he added.
The Green Party plan includes cash incentives of up to $10,000 for Ontarians that buy a fully electric car, low-cost financing for EVs, the expansion of charging infrastructure and the creation of more charging stations on public and private property, and the adaptation of a zero-emission vehicle mandate.
The Green Party proposal will also see the Provincial government taking over the Plug n Drive program for Ontario, which offers a $1,000 rebate for anyone that buys a previously enjoyed fully electric of fully hydrogen vehicle. On top of that, a Green Provincial government will add an additional $1,000 rebate if you buy an electric-assisted bicycle.
“If you look at our roadmap, we give a lot of details what happens between now and 2030 and a longer scale framework for what happens until 2040 and 2045,” Saxe said. “The incentives won’t have to be so big year-after-year because the price difference between fossil fuel vehicles and electric vehicles is dropping fast. So we would start right away and give the highest incentives to people who go now and buy zero emission cars, and smaller incentives for people who buy used or lease more efficient longer range hybrids.”
The various rebates will be funded by a “feebate”, meaning fees will be put on new vehicles that burn either gasoline and diesel, with a sliding scale that sees the fee increase with the size and amount of fuel used per kilometre. To begin, the feebate policy proposes a $500 fee for cars and a $1,000 fee for SUVs.
According to Saxe, the move to electric vehicles is meant to support the overall Green agenda to end sprawl. Priority one is to create an environment for more sustainable living and more diverse communities so that people will choose not to own a car, but if they do need to own a car, then the Greens want to help them buy electric.
“The number one thing is to stop sprawl, because sprawl is what drives emission growth in Ontario, as well as it’s destroying the environment,” Saxe said. “We’re the only party that would stop sprawl and stop new highways, and we would have a lot of encouragement for building new housing within existing urban areas. That increases density to levels that support transit, and puts emphasis on making active transportation safe and convenient, which is good for health and air quality.”