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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: ridiculous
By JediJeb on 4/26/2011 3:30:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well if you do the calculations right, they are getting by with more than $38 tax savings in a Leaf. If you take the $38 in taxes paid at a tax rate of $0.31 for the states portion then you would have to have purchased 122.58 gallons of gasoline. But this is being figured at the EPA rating of the Leaf as 99mpg and driving 12,000 miles per year. Since the Leaf uses no gasoline at all, then actually you would be purchasing 0 gallons of gasoline and paying $0 in taxes.

Now if you take a very efficient gasoline powered car and drive 12,000 miles and it gets $40mpg you would have used 300 gallons of gasoline per year and paid $93 in taxes, so the fee of $100 equivalent if you compare it to the taxes paid by someone driving 12,000 miles per year and averaging 37.2mpg. So the $100 fee on EVs overall would be cheaper than the taxes paid by most motorist on the roads today since most drive more than 12,000 miles per year or average less than 37.2mpg. So really there is nothing to complain about with the $100 fee on EVs for road maintenance unless you are one who expects all other tax payers to cover the wear and tear you put on the road in your EV and help you pay for your EV with the tax rebates on it.

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