photo credit: inhabitat.com
If you're one of the relatively few Americans driving an electric vehicle (EV) or hybrid, your purchase of gasoline has been minimal, and therefore, the federal and state fuel taxes you pay don't come close to covering the maintenance needed to cover the cost of highway infrastructure readily available to you.
Many states are looking to increase that revenue because of the decline in federal gas taxes that was supposed to be earmarked for repairs to roads, bridges and the Interstate highway system.
EV owners have been immune from the cost but that's about to change. Washington state is assessing a $100 annual tax for residents driving certain electric vehicles (EVs), an effort to recoup some of the money lost to those who drive zero-emission vehicles.
While the typical resident pays roughly $182 per year in state gas taxes, the EV owner is still better off, and that's an imbalance that some are trying to address.
"EV drivers want to pay their fair share," said Jay Friedland, legislative director of Plug-In America. "We want the roads to be supported, but we're still in a phase of early adoption and there's a greater public good."
The advocacy group said a flat road tax is more equitable — taxing all drivers equally, regardless of how it is powered. It’s an idea that is gaining momentum.
According to the National Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailing, more states are looking to make sure that EV owners pay their fair share.
New Jersey state Sen. James Whelan has proposed a road tax that charges all drivers 0.00839 cents per mile driven, or roughly $100 for those who travel 12,000 per year. The idea is for the state to collect revenue from EV drivers without singling them out.
Virginia’s House Bill 2313 is also seeking revenue from EV drivers. The bill seeks to eliminate the $0.175/gallon tax in favor of a tax of 3.5% for gasoline and 6% for diesel fuel, and a $64 per year tax for EV, hybrids and alternate fuel vehicles.
In addition to promoting a flat road tax, Plug-In America argues for a tax that is based on vehicle miles traveled plus a vehicle’s weight, and that incentives should be enacted to motivate EV adoption.
"Washington state is the shining non-beacon," Friedland said. Meanwhile, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon and Texas, are proposing similar legislation.
Of course, nobody has mentioned that for many EV owners, the federal tax credit they received, paid for by all of us, already subsidized their vehicle purchase. Why the preferential treatment?