Is Norway the Future of Cars?

This article is part of the On Tech Newsletter. Here is a collection Past columns,

Norway reached a milestone last year. Only 8% of new cars sold in the country run on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of the new cars sold were electric and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids.

Over the years, Norway has been a world leader in moving away from conventional cars, thanks to government benefits that have made electric vehicles more affordable and offered electric car owners additional discounts on parking and toll roads.

Nevertheless, electric car enthusiasts are amazed at the speed at which internal combustion engines have become an endangered species in Norway.

“It amazes most people how quickly things have changed,” Christina Boe, secretary general of the Norwegian EV Association, told me. In 2015, electric cars accounted for about 20 percent of new car sales, and now it’s “the new generic,” Bu said. (Her organization is like AAA for electric drivers.)

Americans can see Norwegians as environmental mortals who were eager to eat gas cars. But Bu and other transport experts told me that the Norwegians started with the suspicion of an electric vehicle just like the Americans.

It has changed due to government policies that first chose easy wins and a growing number of attractive electric cars. Over time, that combination helped more Norwegians believe that electric cars were for them. Bue recently wrote that if Norway could do that, so could the US and other countries.

The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is transportation, and climate scientists say it is important to stay away from combustion engine vehicles to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Sales of U.S. electric cars are growing rapidly, but at about 3 percent of new passenger vehicles, the percentage is much lower than most vehicles. Others Rich countries.

So what exactly did Norway do? Boe said the country’s policies focus first on what was least difficult: cracking down on people thinking of getting a new car electric.

Norwegians who buy new electric cars do not have to pay the country’s very high taxes on the sale of new vehicles. It makes electric cars no-brainer for many, and doesn’t hurt those who already own a conventional car or buy a used car.

Bue also said that Norway has not been paralyzed by the legitimate objections to electric vehicles – what about places to charge them? Is the electric car subsidy a government benefit for the rich? In other words, Norway has not allowed the whole to become the enemy of good.

Not every country has a tax system that is appropriate to encourage the purchase of an electric vehicle. (Gas taxes are also very high in Norway.) But Boe suggested that in order to operate in the US, we could impose higher taxes on the most polluted car models and use the money to subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles. We are.

The US federal government and many states are already offering tax breaks on some electric cars. We don’t tax gas ghazals, in part because Americans prefer to use higher taxes to discourage behavior.

Subsidies for electric cars are not enough on their own to increase ownership of electric vehicles, although they did help boost momentum in Norway. As more and more new electric cars are coming on the road, creating more space to charge them has made it even more delicious. Car companies began marketing themselves for electric vehicles and released more models in a range of prices and features. It’s starting to happen in the US

“These are not easy policy choices in Norway or anywhere else,” said Anders Hartmann of Norwegian planning and engineering consulting firm Esplan Waik.

It was manageable to allow electric vehicle drivers to drop parking or toll fees when few people were on the road, Hartman told me, but some local governments recently said they were losing money used to fund public transportation. The Norwegian legislature has discussed reversing tax breaks for electric vehicles, but it is difficult because it is popular.

Bue told me that the biggest change in Norway is that most people believe that electric cars are for them. “What really surprised me was the change of mindset,” she said.

She said her father was one of those people who said he would never buy an electric car. Now his parents also own one.


These cats – described as “questionable sensitive dust bunnies” – were sitting on the vitamin box, and they were not moving.


We want to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this newsletter and what else you would like us to explore. You can contact us ontech@nytimes.com.

If you haven’t already received this newsletter in your inbox, Please sign up here, You can also read Past on take column,

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *