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Published on December 5th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

42

How Expensive Are Gasmobiles In Norway? VERY (& That’s Logical)

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December 5th, 2013 by Zachary Shahan 

The other day, as you know, I published a story about electric cars taking over the top spot in monthly Norway auto sales (two months in a row), which also included a breakdown of some of the key incentives that have triggered that. Interestingly, the most important EV incentive for EV owners was free access to toll roads. However, “no purchase tax” came in at #2. One of our readers decided to tweet to me on just how big those purchase taxes are in Norway for conventional vehicles. The prices he tweeted are pretty eye-opening.

He tweeted that the Norway prices for the VW Passat, VW Touareg, and Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. (My searches come to practically the same numbers — probably just currency exchange differences since I calculated these about a week later.) So, I’ll just share his numbers, compared to the US prices:

  • VW Passat base price in Norway = $54,387. In the US = $29,115.
  • VW Touareg in Norway: $130,000. In US: $43,995.
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4S in Norway: $262,419. US: $105,630.

Notice the difference much?

Granted, Norwegians are mighty rich compared to Americans, but that’s quite a notable price difference — they certainly aren’t twice as rich. As indicated previously, a huge chunk of each of those high prices comes in the form of taxes.

Oh, one more, without those taxes (since it is an electric car and isn’t taxed), the Tesla Model S comes to $75,656 in Norway. That’s just a tad more than the $71,070 that it costs in the US.

Obviously, this price difference between electric cars and gasmobiles/dieselmobiles is going to make a difference. But here’s an important point: gasmobiles should have very high taxes. They harm human health tremendously, costing the US alone about $120 billion a year. In many countries, that also means importing costly oil; or, in the case of Norway, exporting less of it. Either way, that’s a big financial loss for the country. For a little perspective on that, check out this chart from the head of corporate planning Nissan Europe regarding daily oil expenses for numerous European countries:

oil imports

Daily oil expenses in European countries.
Slide credit: Francisco Carranza, Manager of Corporate Planning at Nissan Europe.
Photo credit: Zachary Shahan / EV Obsession / CleanTechnica


In case that’s hard to see, note that daily oil expenses in some of Europe’s leading countries are as follows:

  • UK – €24.51 billion ($33.47 billion)
  • Germany – €30.1 billion ($41.1 billion)
  • France – €23.97 billion ($32.73 billion)
  • Spain – €20.48 billion ($27 billion)
  • Italy – €24.63 billion ($33.63 billion)

If countries can use home-generated electricity instead of oil (note that electricity is several times more efficient for powering a car), then these countries can save a ridiculous amount of money every year… again.

And then there’s the whole global warming crisis, which just makes the cost of oil that much higher.

These things add up, and societies should be trying to include these extra costs (aka externalities) into the price of driving a gasmobile. And, of course, they shouldn’t be including them in the price of driving an electric car.

So, in my opinion, Norway is acting quite logically when it comes to taxing gasmobiles and dieselmobiles while not taxing electric cars. Kudos to Norway!

As for the rest of us…

Keep an eye on all my EVS 27 coverage here.

Keep up to date with all the latest electric vehicle insight and news by closely watching our electric vehicle category or by subscribing to our electric vehicle newsletter (it’s free!).

Read more Norway cleantech news if you’re enthusiastic about this forward-looking society.

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Johnny Le

    So what does the average Norwegian drive? and how much does it cost?

  • jburt56

    Norway has put in place perhaps the world’s most aggressive transition policy.

  • A Real Libertarian

    “They certainly aren’t twice as rich”

    Actually based on average wages they are.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Also median wages tell more about the prosperity of nation. And if we look median wages in Norway, the difference is even more striking.

      • A Real Libertarian

        When talking about wages average is defined as “median”, the only exception is when someones trying to make their crappy economy look less like an antebellum plantation.

        • Jouni Valkonen

          median ≠ mean.

          • A Real Libertarian

            That’s the point.

            If you take an antebellum plantation and calculate the average income with Mean it doesn’t look that bad. When you use Median however, you get a relatively accurate view.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            average = mean.

          • A Real Libertarian

            mean = 1st type of average.

            median = 2nd type of average.

            mode = 3rd type of average.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Wow, are you kidding? Have a link on that? If not, I’ll look around.

  • Steeple

    Good for the Euros to attempt to get the boots of Gazprom and OPEC off their neck. They are extremely vulnerable to both.

    So if some taxes are good, more taxes should be better. Why don’t we put a $250,000 tax on a Passat?

    By the way, most of Norways wealth comes as an oil exporter. Doubt they are making too much noise about AGW given their strategic position,

    • Bob_Wallace

      You might want to take a look at Norway and climate change.

      They’ve even put their army on a partly vegetarian diet as part of their effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

      • Steeple

        Wow. Norway produces 1.7MM barrels/day not including nat gas, but going partly vegetarian on an army of less than 10,000 materially offsets that? At 170 barrels per day per soldier, it’s pretty clear where Norway’s interests lie.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Look, Norway can’t stop people from buying and using oil. They can either sell some of theirs and make some money or not.

          That has nothing to do with Norway cutting its own GHG emissions. Norway is moving to EVs. Other countries have to deal with their own mess.

          • Steeple

            No one is making Norway produce oil. Statoil could shut it all down to tomorrow if they wanted to. Their actions tell what their position on AGW is.

          • Bob_Wallace

            And this would cut the world’s CO2 emissions how?

          • Steeple

            Eliminating Norway’s production would remove about 2% of the world’s oil supply. Presuming that the market corrects to reduce demand accordingly through higher prices, you would get whatever CO2 reduction is associated with 1.7MM bbls per da of oil consumption.

            Lower emissions, higher fossil fuels prices. Isn’t that what you want, Bob?

          • Bob_Wallace

            The rest of the world would quickly fill that 2% gap.

            You know that. You’re visiting sillyland.

          • Steeple

            There’s only one country in the world (Saudi) that could fill that gap. If you don’t think that would impact oil prices, who is silly?

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’re attempting to move the goal posts by bringing in cost of oil.

          • alexhammerbekk

            good thing 95%+ of our domestic electrisity consumption is hydro/wind

        • Johnny Le

          Norway positions itself very well. Not only it has a lot of oil but a lot of electricity from hydro plants. We don’t have really good batteries yet so it can’t export electricty, but it can export oil. So why not move all domestic energy usage to electricity and export all the oil. It can keep itself rich for a long time, and even after all the oil dries up, it still has cheap energy from hydro plants. That’s the smartest country.

          • alexhammerbekk

            electrisity is exported to the netherlands and germany amongst others

      • ebonystone

        I hope they’re not feeding them beans, or they’ll only produce more greenhouse gas, not less.

        • Bob_Wallace

          OK, now you’ve demonstrated that you don’t understand the carbon cycle.

          • ebonystone

            And you’ve demonstrated that you don’t understand my comment.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Atmospheric carbon is taken in by bean plants. The bean plant forms seeds. People eat the seeds and fart methane. The methane converts to CO2. That atmospheric carbon is taken in by bean plants. The bean plant forms seeds. People eat the seeds and fart methane. The methane converts to CO2. That atmospheric carbon is taken in by bean plants. The bean plant forms seeds. People eat the seeds and fart methane. The methane converts to CO2. That atmospheric carbon is taken in by bean plants. The bean plant forms seeds. People eat the seeds and fart methane. The methane converts to CO2. That atmospheric carbon is taken in by bean plants. The bean plant forms seeds. People eat the seeds and fart methane. The methane converts to CO2. That atmospheric carbon is taken in by bean plants. And on and on and on….

            That is the carbon cycle. We have lived quite comfortably in a world in which we had just the right amount of carbon in our atmosphere at any given time. It kept warm enough but not too warm.

            Then several hundred years ago we start practicing agriculture. We increased the release of methane from the soil. Not a lot, but measurable.
            Then, something over 100 years ago, we started burning large amounts of fossil fuels, oil and coal. We took enormous amounts of carbon out of sequestration and added it to the carbon cycle. Now we have too much carbon in our atmosphere and it’s warming the climate.

            Due to the extra carbon and warming climate we are increasing the strength of storms, creating massive floods and snowstorms, increasing droughts, causing heat waves, and (surprising to many) even making parts of our winters colder.

            If we don’t stop adding to the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere we are going to create a climate which humans simply won’t enjoy. Life will get nasty. Seas will rise more and more and we’ll get crowded into smaller areas and have a much harder time feeding ourselves.

          • ebonystone

            Meanwhile the methane, before it “converts” (hey, presto!)
            into CO2 is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than CO2.

            Humans have been practicing agriculture and animal husbandry for 7 or 8 thousand years, not “several hundred”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, you do know a thing or two. Yes, it would be better if we took some Beano before eating beans.

            The first measured temperature effects from agriculture are (IIRC) about 2,000 years ago. That’s several hundred in casual discussion jargon.

            Here’s the bad news for you. I think you’ve just slipped up and identified yourself as a troll.

          • ebonystone

            300 or 400 = 2000? I dunno ’bout that.

            A troll? Well, that fits, since we’re talking about Norway.

        • knuterikb

          Not in Norway :-)
          – here the beans will power our public transportations system!

          Many major cities, including Oslo, use the sewer systems for producing energy:
          – First the direct heat energy is extracted using heat pumps, and the generated heat is fed into the public hotwater heating/heat distribution system.
          – Then the organic material is filtered out and placed into bio-reactors that produce methane gas. This methane gas is used to power the public transportation system/buses, and a big and steadily increasing number of buses is now powered by methane.
          – The garbage landfills where the remains of our garbage are dumped (after extracting usable materials) are covered by airtight ‘lids’, and also here methane gas is collected and used for public buses etc.

          • ebonystone

            Well, good for Norway! In the U.S. many large dairy farms collect the methane from cow farts and use it to heat their buildings.
            However, I do wonder about the cost — both environmental and economical — of the methane collection arrangements, which had to be constructed, installed, and maintained. All of that produces pollution, too. Is there really a net reduction in pollution?
            I ask, because here in the U.S., there are “environmental” programs — such as many recycling programs — that are basically “feel good” programs; by the time the environmental costs of the extra equipment and its operation and maintenance is factored in, there’s a net loss. But it makes the public feel that it’s doing its part.

          • knuterikb

            I don’t know the math behind the bio-reactors, but they are basically just large tanks, and basically the only tricks are to first fine-grind the content and then keep the content at the correct temperature – then just collect methane from the top.

            For the garbage landfills, it’s even simpler: Take any full landfill, put a layer of sand on top of it, and then a layer of plastic, and finally stabilise the whole ‘package’ with another layer of sand. Make a few holes at the highest points, and collect methane there.
            – Basically what you have is free energy for quite a lot of years!

          • Bob_Wallace

            The ag site digestors I’ve read about have very good financials.

            Actually they are generating electricity.

            Don’t you wonder what makes some people enjoy doing the wrong thing? Are these the sort of people who shoved firecrackers up frogs butts and lit them off when they were little boys?

          • ebonystone

            Yes, I have often wondered that. “It is a puzzlement,” as Mongkut is supposed to have said to Anna.

          • Bob_Wallace


            Pra Bat Som Dej Pra Chomp Kraoy Cha Yoo Hua (King Mongkut, Rama V’s actual name) never had a conversation with Ms. Leonowens.

            However she did teach his 60 children including Pra Bat Som Dej Pra Chulla Chomp Krao Cha Yoo Hua who became Rama VI.

            Pra Bat Som Dej Pra Chomp Kraoy Cha Yoo Hua has a harem of 9,000 people, only some of which were his wives and mistresses.

            But how I digress….

          • ebonystone

            You sure do.

    • Grad

      It would not be realistic to expect they would stop over night. But they’re going in the right direction.

  • anderlan

    If every petro state were as forward looking as Norway the world would be a better place.

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