Saskatchewan country road with the text 'EV road use tax' overlayed on it
A Toronto-based company looks to cover a Saskatchewan road-use tax being placed on EV drivers.

The crowdsourcing charity Small Change Fund is calling out Saskatchewan’s EV road user tax as double-dinging electric drivers who already pay an additional $240 per year to SaskPower — a Crown corporation — to charge up at home

A Canadian charity, the Toronto-based Small Change Fund, is offering Saskatchewan EV owners a full rebate on the province’s $150 road use tax, claiming that the provincial government is essentially double-dipping on EV owners and “attacking” them for choosing cleaner vehicles.

Saskatchewan implemented Canada’s only EV road use tax as part of their 2021 budget. It went into effect October 1.

Small Change Fund president, Burkhard Mausberg, said in a media statement that the rebate was a correction to “the government’s wrongheaded attack on the good people who’ve bought clean electric vehicles”.

The rebate is available until November 30 this year.

A case of bad math

This week the fund published an analysis of the EV road use tax, claiming it shows the Saskatchewan government already brings in more revenue due to increased electricity charges from EV owners than from the road use fuel tax on ICE drivers.

“While EV ownership should be celebrated to deal with the climate crisis, the Saskatchewan government launched a witch hunt on EV owners and is now double-billing them,” Mausberg said.

According to the fund’s analysis, an EV owner who drives 15,300km per year — the provincial average for light vehicles — and who charges their vehicle at home pays around $598 per year in electricity costs. Of this, around $240 is pure profit for provincial-owned power supplier SaskPower. With the EV levy on top of that, this jumps to $394 going straight to government coffers.

In comparison, an ICE owner will pay around $204 in fuel tax driving an equivalent vehicle and travelling the same distance.

A controversial policy

The tax on Saskatchewan’s 403 registered EV drivers is estimated by the government to raise around $60,000 a year, with that amount projected to grow as adoption rises. The deficit from the fuel tax is expected to generate $65 million less in 2021-22 than in 2019-20.

At the time the budget, which included the tax, was announced officials said it was about bringing fairness to all road users. However, the move immediately attracted criticism from the province’s electric car owners, even prompting a protest in front of the Saskatchewan legislature in Regina who accused the government of singling out EV drivers.

The Small Change Fund says the province should delay the new tax until 1.3 per cent of all new vehicle sales in the province are electric. They are also encouraging EV owners who claim the rebate to donate the $150 to the Saskatchewan Environmental Society or the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.