When cornered by curious free-thinking types, political climate zealots often point to the beautiful, progressive country of Norway as the standard to achieve. And what a tremendous record they have in combating the fossil fuel spouting carbon emissions. In the past year, 49.8 % of all cars purchased in the country are electric vehicles (EVs) – not hybrid.
Norway, with a population of only five million people, is now the world’s third-largest electric car market.
And Norway smokes the countries one would expect to lead the charge. For instance, only 2.1% of new cars registered in the US last year were EVs and, scraping the bottom of the barrel, our climate justice warriors across the pond – the European Union – are showing a depressing sales number of 0.9 %.
The Greenbacks in Green Politics
The real scoop is not all as favorable for eliminating fossil fuels as it is nuanced for public viewing. It seems that the government in Oslo is re-appropriating billions of oil export dollars to offset weight, Co2 taxes, and fees of Tesla cars entering the country for purchase. By comparison, the typical Audi entering Norway after government add-ons costs the consumer about $35,000. The Tesla – a $75,000 vehicle – is selling for less.
A major part of this gig is that purchasers are elevated to near super special road warriors – buy an electric car and receive the benefits of lower road tax, zip through toll roads without tossing a kroner into the change basket, and land free parking spots on ferries – well, pretty much free parking everywhere.
Yet this $2 billion yearly “incentive” isn’t taking regular combustion engines off the roads. Instead, folks with gas guzzlers are taking advantage of the government program to add a vehicle to their collection. Two-thirds of purchasers haven’t unloaded their carbon belching climate destroyers – they are still on the roads. As for Norwegians opting for the one-car garage, well, they stick to the good old-fashioned fossil fuel models.
Perhaps it’s due to the ironic fact that Norway is one of the world’s top oil exporters and the second-largest peddler of natural gas.
Denmark gave this economic boondoggle a whirl in 2015, and they sold remarkably well the first year. Subsequent years, post freebies, sales withered rather dramatically. In one year, EV purchases dropped more than 80% — but perhaps Norway has a better deal for their folks.
Proud Tesla owners in Norway are the talk of the green people everywhere. Appearing so progressive, so environmentally conscience, so superior as they speed along in the bus lanes – yep, that’s part of the deal too – passing the commoner plugging along in his or her so 2018 model SUV. Ah, saving the world is simply sublime, and we should all bow down to the nation setting the gold standard on saving the world. Just don’t look too closely at that other rig still sitting in the garage of your everyday average climate hero.