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DRIVING IN DENMARK

Electric cars overtake hybrids on Danish roads

There are now more fully electric cars than plug-in hybrid models on Danish roads.

Electric cars overtake hybrids on Danish roads
Interest organisations have called for more charging stations as the number of electric cars in Denmark continues to grow. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The number of electric cars registered in Denmark now totals 97,121, eclipsing the 97,071 hybrid cars registered in the country, according to car maker interest organisation De Danske Bilimportører.

Electric cars are classed as using solely electric power, while plug-in hybrids can be powered by both electricity and petrol or diesel.

Car importers consider the trend to be a natural development resulting from the Danish Road tax system, which generally favours purely electric models. The registration tax (registreringsafgift) will increase more for hybrids than for electric cars in the coming years.

“There is a large increase in the number of rechargeable cars in Denmark’s car fleet, which is due to a more advantageous tax as well as a wider range of rechargeable car models,” CEO of De Danske Bilimportører, Mads Rørvig, told news wire Ritzau.

“We expect the number of electric cars in particular to increase in the lead up to 2035, when all new cars in the EU must be zero-emissions,” he said.

Just over 2.8 million cars are registered in Denmark. Of these, over 1.8 million were petrol-driven in August, while 780,000 have diesel engines, according to Statistics Denmark.

As such, the number of both electric and hybrid cars remains in the minority for now.

The Confederation of Danish Industry’s (DI) motor sector division Bilbranchen said it was impressed by the growing number of low emissions vehicles amid supply chain challenges.

“The motor industry is still affected by a shortage of components, especially microchips. And a lot of microchips must be used to make an electric car. It is remarkable, not least for this reason,” Bilbranchen director Thomas Møller told Ritzau in a written comment.

Taxes and EU criteria are also boosting electric cars, he noted.

Rørvig said the figures were evidence that Denmark needs more charging stations for electric vehicles.

The number of public charging points increased from 3,700 to 6,000 nationally over the last year, but that must be increased of the trend of electric car ownership is to continue, he said.

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TAXES

Danish government returns debt payments from 138,000 people 

Around 138,000 people in Denmark have been unable to repay debts to the Danish state in 2022 after money they paid was refunded.

Danish government returns debt payments from 138,000 people 

From January to October 2022, 138,000 people in Denmark trying to square their debts with the government were refused due to confusion about whether the Danish Debt Collection Agency (Gældsstyrelsen) actually has the right to receive it, newspaper Berlingske reports.

Having a debt to the Danish public sector on your books can have serious financial consequences, including jeopardizing your eligibility to secure a mortgage.

Data from the Debt Collection Agency indicate the number of debts considered “not ready for recovery” has increased by 1.5 million this year. Half of those debts are connected to the Danish Tax Authority (Skattestyrelsen). 

In total, the 138,000 people were refunded 121 million kroner, including 17 million kroner in unpaid interest. That works out at an average refund of 750 kroner per person.

Based on the scale of the problem, the government will have to consider cancelling some of the debts, Peter Bjerre Mortensen, professor of public administration at Aarhus University, tells Berlingske. 

“They need to swallow some very big camels and/or simplify some legislation or forgive some debts, because right now it seems that things are still going the wrong way with regard to collecting public debt,” Mortensen said. 

The issues with ‘unpayable’ debts first arose in 2015 when EFI, the IT system Skat used to collect debt, was shuttered, according to Berlingske.

Debts to the Danish state have been growing since then. The parliamentary ombudsman said earlier this week that he would try to find out why individuals have been unable to repay debts.

“The ombudsman has received complaints from several members of the public and there have been articles in the media about people who could not repay their debt to the state,” wrote the ombudsman, Niels Fenger.

Tax minister Jeppe Bruus has previously recognised the issue with the repayment system.

“This is a huge challenge and something that must be worked on and improved,” he told newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September.

READ MORE: ‘Topskat’: What is Denmark’s high income tax bracket? 

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