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Nissan Leaf
Washington is looking to recoup lost revenue from EV drivers

Owners of electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf (100-mile driving range) and the Tesla Roadster (211-mile driving range) have the advantage of traveling on America's roads without having to spend a penny on gasoline. And even though the Chevrolet Volt uses a gasoline engine when its battery pack is exhausted, some drivers have managed to average 1,000 miles between gas stops.

The State of Washington, however, isn't too keen on EV drivers skirting the state's gas tax, which helps to maintain the roads that EV drivers travel on every day. According to the Associated Press, Washington has a $5 billion dollar deficit, and hitting the pockets of EV owners is just one way to help close the gap. 

Washington's gas excise tax is one of the highest in the nation at 49.4 cents per gallon [PDF] -- 31 cents of the total is from the state, while the federal tax is 18.4 cents. Assuming that the average driver travels about 12,000 miles per year, a Nissan Leaf driver (EPA rated 99 mpg) would only be skipping out on $38 of the state's portion of gasoline excise tax. For a Chevrolet Volt driver (EPA rated 93 mpg on battery power), the tax revenue lost by the state would amount to $40.

Washington's proposed EV fee, however, would amount to $100 per year.

"Electric vehicles put just as much wear and tear on our roads as gas vehicles,” explained the bill's sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen. "This simply ensures that they contribute their fair share to the upkeep of our roads." 

"So the question is how do you account for those trends and begin to capture revenue that reflects the actual usage of the road?" said Republican state senator Dan Swecker. "Our state doesn't change very fast. But we thought the $100 fee was a place to start, so let's start there." 

Not surprisingly, EV owners aren't exactly thrilled with this proposed legislation. "The Legislature saw electric vehicles are coming and thought, why not just put a fee on them," quipped Dean West, a Nissan Leaf driver.



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RE: Remember...
By nolisi on 4/25/2011 7:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would not be opposed to this fee even in the event I purchased an electric vehicle.


There is an exception to this- if the fee was so exorbitant that I ended up not saving money by going electric- then I would have a problem. In that case, I would stick with a gas vehicle.


RE: Remember...
By quiksilvr on 4/26/2011 9:05:54 AM , Rating: 4
It's all just a scam. I mean, how many EV vehicles can you possibly have in the state of Washington? Even at a million, they would get $100 million a year which wouldn't even dent the $5 billion deficit.

This is clearly oil lobbyists influence trying to get the people to turn away from EVs.


RE: Remember...
By JediJeb on 4/26/2011 11:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
Well if EVs are the money savers they are touted to be, then $100 isn't bad if you are going to save much more than that per year.


RE: Remember...
By Solandri on 4/26/2011 12:06:11 PM , Rating: 2
Alternately, if the state wants an extra $100/yr from EV owners, it would be a lot easier to just reduce the subsidies they are giving to EV buyers by $500-$1000.


RE: Remember...
By JediJeb on 4/26/2011 1:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. If my tax money is going towards paying for someone to purchase and EV, then why shouldn't they be helping me pay for road taxes? As it is without any type of fee outside fuel taxes to pay for roads, those of us who don't purchase EVs are not only donating tax money to the purchase of those vehicles but also footing the bill for the road repairs that those cars will drive on.


RE: Remember...
By quiksilvr on 4/27/2011 11:33:50 AM , Rating: 1
That isn't the point. It's subconsious psychological bullshit that will deter the consumers. People look at that tax and think: "If they are going to tax me $100 a year for using this car, what's next? Electricity tax? Battery insurance requirements? I'd rather just get a gas car."


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