Thailand adopts carbon tax for motorcycles

A motorbike zooms down a busy Bangkok street in 2017.
A motorbike zooms down a busy Bangkok street in 2017.

A new emissions tax for motorcycles was endorsed by the interim cabinet yesterday.

The tax rate will be based on engine size and level of emissions with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to a quarter. It will take effect Jan 1.

The cabinet hopes the tax will help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and therefore also reduce fine-particulate pollution over the long-term, according to Nattaporn Jatusripitak, spokesman for the deputy prime minister in charge of economic affairs, via Workpoint.

Last year, just over 71 percent of more than 21,000 Thais surveyed by market research firm Cint said they owned motorcycles. Roughly two million new bikes are sold annually, according to a report from the Bank of Ayutthaya.

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The new emission-based tax structure is divided into five tiers based on type of engine – including petrol, electric and hybrids – depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted per kilometer.

Any vehicle emitting under 10 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, such as electric motorbikes, will be assessed at only 1 percent. That increases to 3 percent for vehicles producing 10 grams to 50 grams, 5 percent for up to 90 grams, 9 percent for up to 130 grams, and 18 percent for vehicles with emissions exceeding 130 grams per kilometer.

The tax will be waived for prototype motorcycles or vehicles imported for research, development or performance testing that haven’t been sold on the market or received a prior tax exemption.

Nattaporn said the new rates would be able to generate additional tax revenues of THB709 million (about US$22 million) annually. But it’s all about the environment, he assured citizens, not fattening state coffers.

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