TORONTO — The notion that fretful Canadians concerned about global warming are racing out to buy more environmentally friendly vehicles is overblown, according to a survey of new vehicle buyers by Maritz Research.
When asked point blank, buyers maintain that the environment is important, Maritz's Mr. Travell said, but that concern gets overwhelmed by the other factors.
He pointed out, however, that hybrid vehicles, which combine the traditional internal combustion engine with battery power, are coming down in price, although they haven't reached the levels yet of non-hybrids.
If consumers had a choice of a traditional sedan or a hybrid model that is the same in all other ways, they would probably choose the hybrid, he said.
Why isn't the government offering incentives to close the gap between a hybrid and a standard vehicle?
I recently looked into buying a Honda hybrid. The price difference between a regular four-cylinder and the hybrid was around six thousand dollars. I worked out the gas savings, based on the specifications and found I would take a financial hit. It then comes down to the bottomline, and you weigh the factors. In a few months, I will have two children in childcare, which translates into thirteen thousand a year (only ten thousand, six hundred after the generous help from my government), currently we live on one income, plus maternity leave. I just signed both children up to an education fund, recently purchased life insurance so my family has security, blah, blah, blah. In other words, the balance sheet is tight, although I feel some responsibility. I'm sure I'm not alone in the balancing act.
Why doesn't the government step in, reduce the GST on hybrid vehicles and make the purchase somewhat attractive? Bump the overall GST back to 7%, and reduce it for environmental purchases, which would translate into a revenue neutral system (Iggy had it right!). If it comes down to a few hundred, I will make the sacrifice, but anything more just doesn't make sense right now. People don't have the luxury in many instances, we require certain incentives. Throw a dog a bone, this is one example where you can affect change.