Fossil fuel subsidies in B.C. reach nearly $1 billion annually

One of the main talking points against Tesla and their success is that wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the generous subsidies provided by various levels of government to help people purchase their electric vehicle. Now the Vancouver Sun reports that a new study shows the fossil fuel industry receives even more from the B.C. government every year, coming close to $1 billion in 2017-2018.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development, who published the report, found that the subsidies in B.C. are complicated and extensive, often overlooked and not always transparent, and obviously support activities that contribute to climate change. The authors of the report also found that the subsidies come in various forms, like provincial tax exemptions, direct spending commitments, and what makes up the lion’s share of the subsidies, royalty reductions.

These royalty reduction programs bring down the amount of cash fossil fuel companies must pay to the government, and totalled a whopping $631 million in 2018-2019. A further $268 million were in the form of provincial tax exemptions in 2017-2018.

These numbers pale in comparison to the amount of money set aside for electric vehicle purchases, which totalled just $41.5 million in 2019. Not only was the amount of money set aside for the CEV for BC program, subsidy amounts were reduced part way through the year from $5,000 down to $3,000 for qualifying vehicles.

So the next time someone says that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing electric vehicles with their tax money, you can remind them that nearly $1 billion goes to fossil fuel industries every year.

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