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.
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