How taxes led to Jordanians’ love for hybrids

Apart from being cheaper (at the time), hybrids helped take the bite out of rising oil prices

(Photo: Pixabay)
The Jordanian car market is the largest hybrid and electric vehicle market in the Middle East. That fact began as landmark legislation introduced nearly 15 years ago, when tax incentives aimed at curbing the environmental impact of vehicles in Jordan was introduced. اضافة اعلان

These incentives came as part of Jordan’s commitment towards international efforts to curb global warming. That bold decision resulted in a very positive shock to the local market, which is accustomed to  staggeringly high car import taxes reaching 85 percent of a car’s value. That tax break created instant demand for hybrid cars, and opened the floodgates for the mass migration of car buyers from traditional gasoline powered cars to new offerings powered by what was a novel technology.

Just to clarify, the nature of Hybrid technologies to those who are not familiar with them, simply put, is a system that includes a conventional engine running off fuel (gasoline or diesel), combined with an electric motor. A battery powers the electric motor, and a management system draws power from the electric or traditional engine to power the wheels as per the driving conditions. As a result, hybrids achieve “the best of both worlds” in terms of economy and power.

Jordanian consumers soon discovered that the hybrid powered cars offered many more benefits than just a tax incentive. The level of fuel economy offered by this technology have proven to be a huge advantage and vital to decreasing running costs, which became more crucial due to the rise of gasoline prices. That economical advantage kept demand intact, even after a sudden shift in government policy towards halting all incentives and exemptions for hybrids. Nowadays, the tax levied on hybrids is 50 percent. 

As the rapid development of hybrid technology continued, more and more models from several segments, now offer hybrid options for almost every car segment on the market: Sedans, sport utility vehicles, and even trucks are now largely available as hybrids or plugin hybrids. Moreover, entire fleets of models from leading European and Asian luxury brands, became available as hybrids.

The Jordanian love affair with the hybrid car is a prime example of how smart legislation can lead to a shift in consumer behavior towards a better direction in car buying; in a way that would be better for the environment, the economy, and owners’ pockets.