Electric car buyers would get a big break with this bill

A plan to encourage ownership of electric vehicles eliminates taxes, import fees and even the annual road tax.

The measure, No. 19,744, won approval in the  Comisión de Gobierno y Administración and now is headed to the full legislature.

The measure also provides incentives for setting up a network of recharging stations for electric vehicles and hybrids.

The proposal is designed to decrease the use of fossil fuels. Although some countries use petroleum or coal to generate electricity, Costa Rica mainly uses hydro power.

A legislative summary said that the metro area is just 4 percent of the nation’s territory but it has 75 percent of the vehicles.

If passed, the bill would eliminate 100 percent of sales tax, 100 percent of consumption tax and the 1 percent tax that usually is collected by the customs agency when an item is imported into the country.

In addition, the bill would eliminate the road tax or marchamo for five years although an electric vehicle owner would have to pay the obligatory insurance and for any traffic fines. Drivers also would not have to respect the law that restricts vehicles from entering the capital one day a week. There is a chance that electric vehicles would be spared paying at parking meter fees, too, said a summary prepared by the Partido Acción Ciudadana.

Electric vehicle owners also would not have to pay tax on certain repair parts.

The government would be obligated to replace 10 percent of its vehicles with electric ones and banks would be urged to set up special financing plans.

Electric utilities would be mandated to establish recharging stations in each province and there are requirements for such stations on national and local highways.

The action follows by a day a similar committee approval to empower the state rail agency to borrow up to $408 million to pay for electrifying the valley line.

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