Washington State to punish EV buyers for lost gas tax revenues

Paying their “fair share.”

The Washington State Senate Democrats blog posting is below.

Senate approves Haugen electric vehicles fee

Saturday, February 11 2012 – Mary Margaret Haugen | Permalink

Owners of electric vehicles would pay an annual $100 fee to make up for lost gas tax revenues under legislation passed today by the Senate on a 31-16 vote.

“We think the purchase of electric vehicles is great for the environment but we also need to maintain our roads, which is why we have the gas tax,” said Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, the bill’s sponsor. “Electric vehicles put just as much wear and tear on our roads as gas vehicles. This simply ensures that they contribute their fair share to the upkeep of our roads.”

Haugen said Senate Bill 5251 is needed because people are driving less and driving more efficient vehicles in response to the rising cost of gas, causing a decline in the gas tax revenues that fund the state’s transportation projects. All revenue generated by the fee would go into the state Motor Vehicle Fund and be used for highway purposes.

The bill assesses the fee on vehicles that are power solely by electricity and are capable of traveling faster than 35 mph. The $100 fee will be automatically repealed if the state replaces the gas tax with a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) system that would charge vehicles based on distance traveled instead of the gallons of gas purchased.

“When we heard the bill in committee last year, the electric car folks said they wanted to pay their fair share but felt VMT was fairer,” Haugen said. “We listened and we respect that. The state isn’t ready yet for something like VMT, but if and when that day comes we have no problem shifting to that instead of the fee.”

The fee would take effect on vehicle registrations due on or after Feb. 1, 2013.

3 thoughts on “Washington State to punish EV buyers for lost gas tax revenues”

  1. The gas tax is used to build and maintain the roads. (That’s the theory anyway, although somebody always seems to be trying to divert it into one overpriced, and mis-managed “Public Transportation” boondoggle or another..) If you’re not buying gas but still using the roads…

    The real problem or danger is these same legislatures mandating some sort of on board monitoring system that records firstly how far you drive but evolve – devolve? – into systems that record where and when you drive and how fast. In short, a snitch system.

    By whining about the increased registration costs, the EV folks taking umbrage are helping to lay the groundwork – being the useful idiots in other words – for yet another Big Brother nightmare that threatens to ensnare us all.

    Better to just pay the fee and shut up.

    Just a thought.


  2. EV’s are lighter and do less road damage, so they should pay less. North Carolina increased their gas tax a couple years ago because cars were lighter, more efficient and used less fuel. State and Federal fuel taxes are in the neighborhood of $35-$40 billion/year. Anyone thought about auditing where and how these taxes are spent before shoveling more money down the endless road tax pit?

  3. The revenue has to be made up somewhere, and EV buyers do tend to be more affluent than the old Gasoline powered vehicle buyers, so $100.00 a year isn’t so bad. This law assumes that each EV buyer would only buy 5 gallons of gas a week if they drove a conventional vehicle. Given the Average US Annual Miles Per Vehicle in 2006 was around 12,000, that would mean this $100.00 is based on EV drivers paying as if they drove 40mpg (230 miles / week over 5 gallons of gas per week) so it looks about as “fair as any other solution.

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