Presidenta Laura Chinchilla signed a bill on Monday to slash taxes on hybrid cars by 20 percentage points, in a bid to cut fuel emissions in the country.
The tax will be cut from 15% to 10% on vehicles with engines not greater than 2000 cc, well below the 30% to 53% tax rates levied on vehicles fueled exclusively by gasoline and diesel but still higher than the zero-tax status enjoyed by electric vehicles.
The reduction can mean cut in the price tag of between US$2.000 and US$3.000 according to Javier Quirós, president de Grupo Purdy Motor, exclusive importer of Toyota vehicles in Costa Rica.
The hybrid vehicles sold in Costa Rica for now are the Prius and Camry by Toyota with a price tag of between US$35.000 and US$45.000. Quirós says there are about 300 hybrids in circulation.
Nissan is said to be looking to start selling its Leaf model soon, according to a spokeswoman for Costa Rica’s Environment Ministry.
“In this bill we’ve incorporated incentives that should be seen as signs that Costa Rica wants to keep moving forward in its determination of achieving its carbon neutrality goal”, Chinchilla told reporters.
The tax break applies to sedan models, motorcycles and some pick up trucks that run on both gasoline and electricity.
Costa Rica has set the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021, which means that any industrial emissions will be offset through different mechanisms, like taxation, reforesting to soak up greenhouse gases, and using clean energy.