AMMAN — Clearance on electric cars went up by more than 100 per cent in the first third of the year, before witnessing a slowdown in May, the Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday.

According to data of the Jordan Free Zone in Zarqa, the number of electric vehicles cleared increased by 106 per cent by the end of April, reaching 3,300 vehicles, compared with only 1,600 vehicles in the January-April period of 2018, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The ministry attributed the hike in clearances on these vehicles to the decision to extend customs exemptions on electric cars for the first four months of the year, which also means lower fees.

The ministry also said that, due to having a large number of clearances for these vehicles and having a high number of these vehicles at car showrooms, the clearance trend went down in May.

The clearance activity is expected to resume in the second quarter of the year, added the ministry.

Electric car sales went down by 70 per cent in April as a 25 per cent tax hike on the vehicles went into effect, the Jordanian Free Zones Investors Association (JFZIA) said early in May.

JFZIA President Mohammed Bostanji told The Jordan Times in May that the sector “will soon come to a halt” following the imposed tax.

In December of last year, the government passed the Clearance Tax Law on electric cars, which were formerly exempt from the tax altogether, but granted dealers an extension until March 30 to import and sell electric cars without it.

In January, hybrid vehicles’ trade volume dropped by 85-90 per cent, according to the association.

Under the new tax amendments, the clearance tax for hybrid cars will reach 40 per cent in 2020 and 45 per cent in 2021.