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Last week, the new Quebec budget caught the attention of prospective EV buyers — and not in a good way. The new budget has reduced EV subsidies (for fully electric car purchases) from $8,000 to $7,000. In the case of used EVs, the subsidy has been reduced from $4,000 to $3,500.

This decision may seem counterintuitive, as the Quebec government recently said it “wants to get 1.5 million more electric vehicles on the roads by 2030. Even still, many critics have insisted that Quebec’s target for EVs is too low and, with these changes, EVs may remain out of the financial realm of possibility for Quebec drivers contemplating their next vehicle. ”It is unbelievable that they did that,” said Quebec Corporation of Automobile Dealers President Robert Poeti.

In defence of the changes, the government said it’s “adjusting the subsidies to reflect the closing price gap between electric and gas vehicles.” However, local car dealers claim this is not the case, and that the cuts will work against Quebec’s transition to a more electrified automotive sector by decreasing the demand for EVs.

Read more: Doug Ford doubles down on dropped Ontario EV incentives

“They have to wait a year to get the car and lose $1,000 sometime $3,000 for hybrid, so what they can do, they decided to buy another type of car with fuel,” said Poeti. Notably, the province’s government also didn’t replace these cuts with other investments in public transportation, which may undercut Quebec’s ability to reduce greenhouse has emissions at large.

“It’s true subsidies will be phased out at one point, we do think [it’s] too early,” explains political analyst Andreanne Brazeau of Equiterre, a non-profit environmental advocate company. “However, the problem is not the amount of subsidy but how they’re distributed.” Equiterre notes that the current subsidies only benefit higher income households, rather than helping to “democratize” the adoption of EVs.

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