SINGAPORE - Motorists dreading the day when they will be charged according to the distance they drive can breathe a sigh of relief: Distance-based electronic road pricing (ERP) will not come for "several years" more.
The reprieve was revealed amid the announcement of a new lump sum tax for electric vehicles in lieu of fuel excise duty, which does not apply to EVs as they do not use fossil fuels.
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said the excise duty on fuel is a form of mileage tax to discourage indiscriminate use, which in turn has an impact on pollution and congestion.
"Ideally, we would like to implement a usage-based tax on EVs as an alternative to fuel excise duties," he said. "But the technology to do this properly is the next-generation ERP system, and distance-based charging using ERP is still several years away."
The Land Transport Authority said last June that the second-generation ERP system "is on track to be progressively rolled out from next year (2020)". However, it said during a transition period, "there will be no changes to the existing congestion-management framework" - meaning, distance-based charging will not kick in yet.