'We are petroholics': Norwegian Green Party politician says polluters should pay high price for gasoline

Drive and you should pay, says one Norwegian politician who wants to see his country move away from oil and gas exploration and invest in clean energy and electric vehicles.

Norway is a leader in electric vehicle sales despite exporting much of the world's oil and gas

An oil rig off the coast of Norway. Despite being one of the world's top oil and gas producers, Norway is also a leader in electric vehicle sales. (Susan Ormiston/CBC News)

Vancouver gas prices haven't quite caught up to the high rates drivers in Norway have faced for decades, where many have chosen to drive electric vehicles instead.

There, drivers are comfortable paying the equivalent of more than $2.50 Cdn per litre of gasoline, according to Per Espen Stoknes, a deputy representative for Norway's Green Party.

"By the 2000s, we got used to having the highest gas prices in the world, I guess," he said.

Stoknes pointed to government taxation as the main reason for the hefty price tag and said the rest of the world should follow Norway's lead.

"I think [Vancouverites] are now paying fair prices because the polluter should pay. It's a global principle. Vancouver is now moving toward the right price levels, while the rest of the world should attempt to catch up to increase their price on carbon emissions," he told Gloria Macarenko, the host of CBC's On the Coast.

Norway produces two percent of the world's oil. (Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy)

Those fuel taxes, combined with government incentives have made electric vehicles more affordable and desirable than gas powered vehicles, he explained.

Electric cars in Norway are not subject to the same import taxes as combustion engine cars and trucks. They are also exempt from tolls on roads and bridges and can drive in bus lanes.

As a result, Stoknes said 40 per cent of the cars sold in Norway in March 2018 were electric.

But the country's apparent commitment to the environment runs counter to its contribution to the word's consumption of fossil fuels. 

According to the Norwegian government, exports of Norwegian oil account for 15 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). 

The Norwegian Green Party, which holds one seat in parliament, advocates for a complete phase out of future oil and gas exploration while more conservative parties, which currently hold power in the government, are looking at maximizing new production and future exports of oil and gas.

"On the one hand, we pretend to be environmentally friendly. On the other hand, we are petroholics," Stoknes said.

We all know it's a hard time paying for gas right now, but one country pays even more. Norway. 0:00