Brit Liggett

Washington State Legislators Pass $100 Electric Vehicle Tax

by , 02/19/12

washington state, washington state legislature, washington state legislators, washington state gas tax, washington state ev tax, washington state electric vehicle tax, electric vehicle tax, ev tax, highway funds, highway repairs, highway funding

Washington State legislators just passed a bill that will require owners of electric vehicles to pay a $100 fee when they register their cars each year in order to make up for lost revenue on gas tax. We reported on the bill when it was proposed in the state legislature early last year, and proponents supported it as a means to raise needed funds for highway repairs. On the other side of the coin, EV owners are rightfully angry since they are buying gasless cars for a reason. It seems the state of Washington missed an opportunity to think into the future here, away from gasoline taxes, in order to figure out where those funds will come from when no cars run on gasoline. We’re not sure if they got the memo but gas is a limited resource and so that day is surely in our future.

washington state, washington state legislature, washington state legislators, washington state gas tax, washington state ev tax, washington state electric vehicle tax, electric vehicle tax, ev tax, highway funds, highway repairs, highway funding

The bill was sponsored by Senator Mary Margaret Haugen who said last week to her constituents that 60% of Washington state residents support an extra fee for EV owners. Her bill did not pass last year when put up for a vote but she retooled and came back with her recent success. In addition to introducing the $100 registration fee for electric vehicles Haugen inserted wording into the bill that would repeal the fee once the state had the capability to carry out a Vehicle Miles Traveled system, which would charge car owners for each mile they drive.

We thought the whole point of a fully electric vehicle was that you could drive as much as you wanted (with stops for charging) without worrying about leaving a massive carbon emissions stain on the world. As it currently stands the $100 fee seems like a punishment for electric vehicle drivers and the proposed Vehicle Miles Traveled system seems like a punisher for those that drive low-emissions vehicles great distances. We’re thinking that the State of Washington should have done a bit more critical thinking on this problem in order to raise the needed revenue with a long term strategy. Instead of thinking of a fully-integrated long-term solution they just slapped a fee on the kind of new technology that has a chance to save us from our gasoline addiction.

Via 89.3 KPCC

Lead image by felix kramer on Flickr

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11 Comments

  1. Eletruk January 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    It’ll come up when you renew your tabs and you need emissions tested.

  2. jim osier January 5, 2013 at 2:24 am

    How are they going to know who has a electric car. My truck doesn’t have a e in the vin number. they didn’t think about it in 94.

  3. rprowley March 20, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Well this law, if passed, stops me from purchasing a EV. This is so wrong and sets the efforts of auto manufactures back years. Why produce a high mph vehicle only to have a greedy state that has mismanaged their finances take away the incentive. This law also reduces our chance to curtail our dependence on foreign oil.

  4. gaston February 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Washington state already charges a similar fee for vehicles powered by propane, butane, or natural gas. The fee is based on the weight of the vehicle. The smallest fee is $140 and goes up to $781.
    The main reason the state has to do this is because there are trucks which use these fuels and truck do a lot of damage to the highways.
    Freightliner already has an all electric delivery truck in production and others are coming. So it seems prudent that the state should put these EV fees into place.

  5. FutureTrain February 20, 2012 at 5:26 am

    That’s rediculous. What do people pay taxes for then? It’s just so wrong?! And in a country that is threatening to boycot the U.K.’s new air polution tax! Air can’t be replaced with a layer of cement.

  6. quinny February 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve been thinking about something like this here in the Netherlands too. EV’s and hybrids are currently exempt from paying road taxes (and the one time motor vehicles tax payable upon purchase of a vehicle). Add the fact that EV’s don’t use fuel, so they’re not getting the taxes levied on that either.

    This’ll probably change in a few years, when enough people have bought EV’s. Perhaps they’ll even increase the taxes on electricity, to compensate for the losses on fuel tax. Higher electricity prices will mean more people installing solar panels, making the government lose those taxes again…

    In the end, we’ll all have black boxes in our cars and pay per kilometer/mile driven on public roads. Perhaps with added cost for CO2 emissions and time of day (that would be fair and still promoting EV’s).

    In the Netherlands, laws like this have been proposed. The only cars exempt from this would be classic cars, where the installation of a ‘black box’ would compromise the ‘classic car status’ of the car.

  7. kazenske February 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    The mileage traveled system is going to be the way to go. The wear and tear on roads isn’t determined by what fuel you use to get around, it’s by the amount of use.

  8. msyin February 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    We are all paying for roads but my outrage comes from the lack of transparency as to where the money is really going, the fact that our roads and bridges are in horrible condition despite years of increases in gas taxes, road taxes and tag fees. We pay and pay and pay and yet the system is not getting better, being maintained or even improved in keeping with the money we are all dishing out. The bill is ridiculous and anyone who drives now should be pissed because using gas cars is going to be a thing of the past even if you are against them in any way now. The issue is the lack of forward thinking that is just typical of our elected officials who seem to never be able to think beyond an opinion poll.

  9. Eletruk February 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    So far, only the state Senate has passed the law. It still lhas to go through the House.
    Currently, charging EVs for road tax is pointless. There are so few EVs, that even at $100 per car, the total cost of administering the fee will most likely exceed revenue gained.

    Also it doesn’t address the real problem. Everybody is using less gas, and so road tax collection goes down. So why target such a tiny percentage of the vehicles? Because they are so small they can’t fight back. Well, we are fighting back, that’s why the law didn’t pass last year.

    The gas tax is based on vehicles getting an average 22mpg, so with Federal CAFE standards set over 50mpg, where does this law help? It doesn’t, except to possibly reduce the number of EVs sold.

    Here’s a better solution: Also on the books is a law to allow plug-in vehicle to use the HOV lane. Why not put a $100 fee on getting a sticker to use the HOV lane? That way you still promote EVs, and you get your stupid $100.

  10. mercurydan February 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Thats stupid. They get enough money from other places. Stop spending it on war. This isn’t going to help EV’s taking off.

  11. caeman February 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Every state should pass a similar law. Simply put, road maintenance is paid money from fuel taxes. You EV owners didn’t think you were going to have a free ride, did ya? If you use the roads, you should pay for the roads.

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