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
"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
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.
quote: .... they are stealing the service without paying for it.
quote: ... but that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay our fair share to maintain the roads.
quote: we both drive the same miles to work, yet because your mpg is lower than mine you buy more gasoline than me. is that fair that you pay more gasoline tax than me and we drive the same mileage?
quote: I would not be opposed to this fee even in the event I purchased an electric vehicle.
quote: The shippers will pass the taxes on as will retailers.
quote: The rule of thumb is road wear rises with axle weight by the POWER OF FOUR!
quote: Rather than putting a tax on EV's they should reform the system and tax based on vehicle weight.
quote: So you would have to tax by the mile driven and weight, not gallons of fuel used.
quote: they are going to need to find a way to pay for road maintenance.
quote: when you watching OTA tv your stealing from the cable and telephone company. why? your getting the same programming free when cable and teleco customer have to pay for it.
quote: you actually believe that.
quote: you never paid your fair share because no ones mpg is the same. we both drive the same miles to work, yet because your mpg is lower than mine you buy more gasoline than me. is that fair that you pay more gasoline tax than me and we drive the same mileage? i don't think there is anything illegal about going green.
quote: Since when is 'tax dodging' a good deed?
quote: the wear and tear on the road is the exact same in both cases
quote: there are cars within the same weight class that get very different mpg's.
quote: True- but if one is concerned with saving money on gas, why would one buy a less efficient vehicle in the same weight class?
quote: What I think should be done with electric vehicles, is instead of a yearly tax, when it goes in for safety inspection or whatever, pay a tax on the value of the odometer. This would be more 'fair' in all honesty.
quote: A camaro can't weigh much more than a prius, but in reality it pays about double tax
quote: yet another human right with held due to profit motives
quote: Many other countries have public health care, it's baffling that the US still doesn't. (yet another human right with held due to profit motives)
quote: but with EVs getting popular it doesn't work that well anymore.
quote: Throwing extra fees at EV owners defeats this purpose of a gas tax and will make it so fewer people go electric than would be best for society.
quote: The only thing that will actually bring people to make environmentally wise decisions about purchasing and using cars is giving them incentives to do so. The gas tax is a good way to do that- famous conservative economist N. Gregory Mankiw estimates that the gas taxes nationwide are about $1/gallon lower than the social optimum. Throwing extra fees at EV owners defeats this purpose of a gas tax and will make it so fewer people go electric than would be best for society.