Right move to tax 'performance' cars

I support the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Transport Ministry in imposing a $15,000 carbon tax surcharge on the Tesla Model S imported by Mr Joe Nguyen ("Tesla slapped with $15k tax surcharge"; last Saturday).

While the Singapore Government should encourage having more electric cars on the roads as part of our long-term carbon emission reduction policy, the carbon emission rebate or tax break should be meant only for "working man" cars, so as to reduce the number of "normal" cars polluting the environment.

The LTA is right to set clear guidelines and limitations on the type and engine capacity of electric cars allowed on the roads, as well as the surcharge that will be levied on "performance" cars .

Prospective buyers or importers of electric performance cars must pay the carbon surcharge, because if such cars are deemed to be "encouraged" by way of carbon rebates or tax breaks, they will put a heavy load on our power grid system if the number of these cars eventually increases.

In any case, such cars are not an efficient use of energy even though they may be less pollutive.

Furthermore, these high-value performance electric cars should pay a "social" premium or even a luxury tax in the form of a carbon emission surcharge, as they consume more energy than most households.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Right move to tax 'performance' cars'. Print Edition | Subscribe