The government is to raise taxes on new vehicles and increase annual licence fees in an attempt to relieve traffic congestion in Hong Kong, as it eyes phasing out the sale of petrol- and diesel-run cars entirely by 2035 or earlier.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in his latest budget that a 15 percent increase in First Registration Tax (FRT) for private vehicles took effect immediately, while vehicle licence fees have been raised by 30 percent.
He noted that the FRT hasn’t gone up in a decade, while licence fees have remained unchanged since 1991.
But the President of the Hong Kong Automobile Association, Ringo Lee, said he doesn’t think the increase in FRT and licence fees will do much to lower the number of cars out on the roads.
He said while the increases are substantial, they may not be enough to discourage people who are financially capable from buying private cars.
He also said the government should have only restricted the tax increases to those who buy non-electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, Chan also said the government is also working to gradually replace conventional cars that run on fossil fuels, with more environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.
He said the Environment Bureau will announce next month Hong Kong's first road map on encouraging more use of electric cars, and setting up the needed infrastructure.
This includes expanding the charging network for EVs and setting up a producer responsibility scheme to handle dead batteries.
Chan said a key measure is to stop all new registration of fuel-run cars by 2035 or earlier, as part of the government's plan to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, as well as to further reduce roadside pollution.
He noted that the number of electric cars in Hong Kong have skyrocketed in recent years, from just 184 a decade ago to more than 18,500.
He said around 60,000 parking spaces in existing private residential buildings will be fitted with charging facilities for electronic cars in three years.
The government will also continue to support bus, minibus and ferry operators to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.
Last updated: 2021-02-24 HKT 18:14