An unlikely hero for this Province may in fact be the electric car. Yes, this article is about Muskrat Falls, a construction project which has spilled more ink than a spooked ocean of squid. No, Mr. Sensitive Premier this will not be doom and gloom, I’m surprised too. It’s time to turn the page and find solutions. Let’s begin that conversation.
On February 20th 2018, for the first time in our history, the Isle of Newfoundland began importing electricity. The Maritime Link, the 500 mega-watt transmission line, has begun flowing power from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland.
$231 MILLION: A Reserved Estimate of How Much Money We’d Keep in the Province If We All Drove Electric Cars
Once Muskrat Falls comes online this has to stop. Nova Scotian power should not be viewed as any part of the solution to our current problems. Firstly, we need to pay our own bills not someone else’s. Secondly, Nova Scotia has an electrical generation system which would make Dickensian London blush. They are burning enormous quantities of coal to produce electricity and that’s something we can’t support.
One of the chief virtues of Muskrat Falls was that it would displace dirty Nova Scotian electricity. However if we give Emera, the for profit company which owns Nova Scotia power, a readymade market for their coal power, they would have many of reasons to keep supplying it.
So what can be a part of the solution? How do we generate more revenue without taking more money from anyone’s pocket? The answer is income redirection and capture.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, NL had 361,096 personal vehicles registered in the Province, and had net sales of gasoline of 783,282,000 litres. Let’s be conservative and say that those 361,096 vehicles are only responsible for half of the gasoline sales, which would leave 391,641,000 litres purchased on a yearly basis for personal automobile use. At current gasoline prices of 117.9 cents per litres in the St. John’s area, we are collectively spending $461,744,739 dollars every year.
Currently, approximately 17% of this money is recovered with a gas tax, yet more with business and income taxes. Lets again err on the side of caution and generously say that the Province recovers 50% of the total gas revenue, that still leaves approximately 231 Million Dollars leaving this Province.
With Muskrat Falls coming online in late 2018, we will have a huge excess of electrical capacity. Small Government initiatives could result in 25% of vehicles being electric in 5 years as demonstrated in other Nations. In 20 years, every vehicle could be an electric one and every dollar spent on transportation energy would stay in the Province.
Newfoundland and Labrador could redirect the money we are already spending and capture a minimum of 231 Million Dollars a year, every year, and it wouldn’t take a single extra dime out of anyone’s pocket. 60 dollars, whether spent of gasoline or electricity is still only 60 dollars. This is a real part of the solution, there are others, join the conversation.