Only when people start purchasing more electric vehicles than gas-powered ones can we truly say that the EV revolution is underway. Although the US still has a long way to go until that point is reached, there is one country where more than half of all cars sold are electric: Norway.
According to new data from the country’s Road Federation, EVs made up 54 percent of all new car sales in Norway, although that figure takes a big leap upward if you include plug-in and hybrid vehicles. Meanwhile, “pure” petrol and diesel vehicles constituted just 8 to 9 percent of all cars sold in the country in 2020.
Although EVs have outsold gas-powered cars in Norway during certain months in 2019, this is the first that EVs outsold their emissions-spewing counterparts over the course of a year.
Norway has had the luxury of enjoying great financial wealth thanks to its massive oil reserves, which helps why the country has been able to transition so easily to electric vehicles. A sovereign wealth fund was set up through those oil riches, which has funded generous subsidies for people buying electric vehicles. Those subsidies include no purchase or import taxes, no road tax, and either free or heavily discounted fees for toll roads, parking, ferries, and company car tax.
On top of all this, Norway also placed a tax burden on gas-powered cars to encourage more EV purchases. In one case, EV Norway explains that the standard Volkswagen Golf was taxed some €12,000 ($14,700) to make the e-Golf cheaper in a side-by-side comparison.
Realistically, the US is not able to afford such generous subsidies for EVs, but some states are still taking measures to get people to go electric. As we mentioned in yesterday’s edition of The Optimist Daily, Massachusetts has joined California in banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.