In order to reduce air pollution, purchases of electric and hybrid vehicles will be subsidized with EUR 1 million in 2021. Civil society organizations advise the government to support low-income individuals to increase energy efficiency in households, instead of buyers of expensive cars.
A month ago, civil society organizations initiated the signing of a petition to change the purpose of the subsidies. More than 40,000 citizens signed it so far. In the meantime, the Government of Serbia adopted a new decree on subsidizing the purchase of new electric and hybrid vehicles, in line with the budget appropriations for the support to purchases of more environmentally friendly cars.
The subsidies were introduced in March as one of the measures to reduce air pollution. It turned out to be the only measure to reduce pollution. Subsidies amount from EUR 250 to EUR 5,000 per unit, while the lowest price of electric and hybrid cars in Serbia is around EUR 20,000.
Heating pollutes the air much more than traffic
“Rather than subsidizing the purchase of new electric and hybrid vehicles, we demand funds to be redistributed to incentives for energy efficiency measures and the purchase of more energy efficient furnaces for low-income individuals,” according to the petition.
Civil society organisations add air pollution in Serbia is largely caused by household heating, while that traffic participates in PM emissions with 6%. They noted the government has established a working group in January to reduce air pollution and that its only measure was to adopt the decree.
Outdated furnaces are major air pollutants
Subsidies need to be redirected from incentives for the purchase of private expensive cars to socially endangered households, which are much bigger polluters with their furnaces, the organizations said.
The petition was initiated by the Belgrade Open School, RES Publica Kragujevac, UG Novi put Kraljevo, Protok 21 Smederevo, Eko straža Šabac, Association of Pensioners of the Municipality of Stari grad, Young Researchers of Serbia, Kreni-Promeni and the Association for the Protection of Constitutionality and Legality.
No subsidies in 2021 for purchases financed by loans
The new decree excludes subsidies for purchases financed by loans, leaving only leasing and cash purchases.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection, in charge of the implementation of the decree, has not officially announced the results of the program for 2020. By the end of June, subsidies have been approved only for two vehicles out of 45 submitted requests.