Washington State's senate has passed a bill that would impose an annual fee of $100 to electric-vehicle drivers in an effort to compensate for the gas taxes that EV drivers don't pay, the Associated Press reported.

The fee, which doesn't apply to hybrids or neighborhood-electric vehicles, will be used for road services that would be otherwise paid through gas taxes. Washington charges 37.5 cents a gallon in fuel taxes. The bill, which passed by a two-to-one margin, will next be voted on by the state's house of representatives, the wire service said.

Senate Bill 5251 was introduced about a year ago by Mary Haugen, the Senate's transportation committee chairwoman, as a way to compensate for the fact that EVs put the same wear and tear on state roads as conventional vehicles do. The fee is about half of what a typical Washington state driver pays in gas taxes, and would add as much as $1.9 million to the state's budget by 2017.

Many cash-strapped states are trying to figure out how to ensure that more consumer interest in electric vehicles won't translate into lost state revenues because of less gas taxes. Some Arizona legislators earlier this month proposed taxing EV drivers as much as 1.43 cents per driven mile. That state in January repealed an emissions program that incentivized more alt-fuel vehicle use after just one year. Oregon and Kansas are among other states looking at EV-related fees.


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  • 104 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      The electric car already pay tax when it recharge from the utility so it's a tax on a tax. If it recharge with free non-polluting solar or windmills then it's ok because state give subsidies to solar and windmills. Peoples blogging here should oppose paying a tax on a tax. States already had given tons of subsidies and tax breaks on solar, windmills, bio-fuels so it should keep it that way because many have followed because it was like that and now without any logic it begin to tax what was subsidise before...&*?%G%. How can you understand these jerks. They are mad and dangeurous and confusing. They give subsidies then they retract and put a tax on the same thing.
        BipDBo
        • 7 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        "The electric car already pay tax when it recharge from the utility so it's a tax on a tax." This is a good point. I'm not sure how much tax a typical EV driver would typically pay through his added EV electric bill, but it would be a pertinent figure for the legislators to know. I'd imagine that the amount is miniscule compared to the gas tax a typical ICE driver would pay. This tax also wouldn't go into the same coffers that pay for roads. Nonetheless, IMO, this should be considered when determining how much an EV driver should pay in road tax, not whether or not he pays a road tax. "Peoples blogging here should oppose paying a tax on a tax." Maybe so, but I doubt you'll convince many people here to want to abolish capital gains tax or inheritance tax. Mostly people want to raise these taxes, mainly because they may not really realize that these are tax-on-taxes.
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        By the same logic: When regular car drivers buy gas they are paying tax on it even though they already paid tax on their income. It's a tax on a tax! But it's okay, because the government gives subsidies to oil. EV owners are not being hard done by here. Roads must be paid for. EVs will be taxed to do it because they don't use gas.
        Ele Truk
        • 7 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Electric cars do pay taxes on electricity, but it's not ROAD tax, that's what this is about. Plus if you have a solar array on your house, you end up not paying much of anything (exceot for the cost of the solar array). The issue is that somebody in the legislature got it into their heads that this tax will generate revenue. WRONG. There aren't enough EVs in Washington state to even pay for the administration of the additional fee, so the additional fee will end up costing Washington state money. Plus it doesn't address Plug-in Hybrids (like the Volt). When Jay Leno claims he has driven 10,000 miles and still hasn't refilled his gas tank, how much in road or gas taxes is he paying?
      sgentilejr
      • 3 Years Ago
      A $100.00 fee PER YEAR is only $8.33 per month. Many people spend more than that per week on bottled Water or on just 2 or 3 Starbuck's cups of coffee. The fee is extremely cheap since they are avoiding paying over $500.00 per year in gasoline taxes__that still leaves them saving $400 per year on gasoline taxes. The gasoline tax is 37 cents per gallon and if they normally would be buying 20 gallons of gasoline per week they would be paying $7.40 per WEEK for gasoline taxes and instead they are paying only $8.33 per month for the $100 per year fee..
        Jason Allen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @sgentilejr
        That's true. But many states have no sales tax on the electric car purchase either so some GOP lawmakers are going to attack that aspect soon too. The actual amount ($100) is peanuts. So long as they keep the bigger tax breaks/rebates to encourage the field to develop as quickly as possible.
          EZEE
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Jason Allen
          this tax and the Arizona tax are both by democrats.
          Actionable Mango
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Jason Allen
          You are implying that GOP lawmakers attack EVs with this bill. The bill's sponsors are 4 Democrats and 1 Republican, the Washington Senate has a Democratic majority, and the bill passed with nearly a 2/3 yea vote. Like EZEE, I may get downranked for speaking the truth, but it's still the truth. Feel free to doublecheck me: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5251 If an anti-EV bill is passed by Democrats and you blame the GOP, you have just given political cover to the people that passed the anti-EV bill in order to support your own political bias. This is no different than GOPers attacking the EV rebate and the "Government Motors Volt" bailout because they think it's some liberal Obama plot, when in fact both were signed by Bush. I always try to call it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is nuts - I always thought they people in Washington were OK. OK, the people in Washington are great, but the Senators - wow. It is absurd to punish EV owners, if the Senators want to tax cars by mileage at inspection time, that could work. How could they possible think it a good idea to tax people who are not polluting, who use renewable resources for power, and who are doing a part in keeping our young men and women alive and out of Foreign Oil Wars. To tax them is an awful idea.
        Actionable Mango
        • 7 Months Ago
        The WA government repeatedly act against the wishes of the people, but redistricting populations into single party voting blocks keeps the politicians fat and happy in their jobs. In liberal areas, all an incumbent Democrat has to do is beat a Republican... easy, no matter how unpopular the politician. Likewise, in conservative areas all an incumbent Republican has to do is beat a Democrat. An easy feat. The only chance for change is when someone steps down or in the extremely rare circumstance of a same-party primary challenger... an extremely long shot at best.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      If this were about revenue raising they would wait until there were enough electric cars on the road to pay for setting up and administering the tax/ This measure at the moment will cost more than it raises. Its simply political posturing,
      Smurf
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Washington proposal is more fair than the AZ proposal..... In Washington, if you drive 10,000 miles a year, the state tax rate is the same as a vehicle that gets 37.5 mpg. In Arizona, the 1.43 cent/mile rate is the same as a vehicle that gets 12.58 mpg. As an EV owner, I am aware of the potential for lost tax revenue for road repairs from EV's. I would not have a problem with the Washington rate, but I definitely have a problem with the Arizona rate which is disproportionate compared to the wear and tear the vehicle makes.... It is not taxes that EV owners are trying to avoid. We are trying to avoid using oil.. If EV owners pay their fair share in taxes for road repairs, then conservatives have one less thing to whine about when it comes to EV's...
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's a decent compromise. It really isn't necessary at this point but at least this should shut up the whiners.
      mylexicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      An obvious attempt to extort the federal government for road funding.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      A utilities levy? Then I have to pay road tax to heat and light my house? That makes no sense. Gas from retail pumps mostly goes into cars so a road tax works on that. Electricity goes to a lot more varied places. Putting a road tax on electricity doesn't make any sense.
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just reading through all the 88 comment so far, I have noticed a deafening silence from the usual gang of leftist haters. It's not hard to imagine the howling if this had been proposed by a GPO or conservative politician? But from the moment it was revealed that the proposal is sponsored and enacted by a Democrat administration, the tone of criticism became far more muted! Personally, I think the tiny amount of revenue raised by such a tax, at this time, will not cover the cost of passing regulations and administering collection! Washington State may have a few hundred EV's, maybe 1000 at most, the $ 100,000 raised, would not pay for the millions involved in the administration! If I had to pick a method of road tax collection for EV contribution, I thought Leonard's comment had a good deal of merit. A power utility levee could be enacted very cheaply, allowing power companies to impose a surcharge on power derived from charging posts or home EV outlets by smart-meter. For those with solar, a tiny charge levee on the price of sales to the grid could be effected. Such a small charge divided by the number of EV's would be virtually unnoticeable on customers power bills. Another more equitable method, would be to impose road tax on the item that most accurately reflect road usage of both EV's and ICE, tyres! The bigger the tyre, the more tax! The more wear, the more tax. (No tax disk stamped into your tyre, no tyre! ) Hey, this is great! Domestically made tyres could have an advantage over imported tyres since the tax details could only be attached by the IRS (or similar Federal authority) during manufacture, and include a recycling deposit. Hmmmm......
        EZEE
        • 7 Months Ago
        @marcopolo
        @ Marco.... Your tire (how we spell it) tax made me sit back and have to think. Here are a few arguments that I can think of from the political side, plus rational side: People would scream, "But, a car that gets 10 mpg would pay the same as a car that gets 50mpg!" In other words, no reward for getting a fuel sipper... On the rational side, it sounds interesting. First, for people who do not inflate properly, rotate their tires, or do other things that affect the performance (and therefore, gas mileage in many cases), they would pay more. My last set of tires on my truck lasted 80,000 miles (original factory tires even). People who drive their vehicles more would wear them out faster (as well as the roads), and you would also have larger vehicles pay more under your plan. The biggest issue would be is that how much tax would you put on a tire? In 80,000 miles on my Beloved Ford Ranger that I put on the tires before replacement, I used roughly 4,000 gallons of gas. In Florida, state plus federal taxes are around 52 cents a gallon (anyone correct me if I am wrong). To translate that back to the current system, that means I have spent (wow!) $2,080 in taxes (holy sh*t). I cannot imagine heading to the tire store and asking for tires and finding out they would be $2,400! Dear Lord! On the flip side, readnecks who like off road mudding, and members of the influential hip-hop community, who enjoy gigantic tires, would have to either adjust their habits, or shell out some monumental costs for tires.... The mind boggles....
        EZEE
        • 7 Months Ago
        @marcopolo
        @ Marco Most of the people blamed the GOP - the old story of, "if the story has any hint of anything bad against one of the left, be sure to leave out the 'D' after the name." Now if the story was about our good friend, Daryl Issa, then it would read, "The Republican legislations, sponsored by Republican Daryl Issa (R-California), seeks to impose republican child starving republican etc...." @ Spec 'hippie tree-hugger unAmerican cars' - oddly, the left has retaliated to say if you DON'T like them you are unpatriotic, and other stuff that makes me not want to be around nick if he holds a baseball bat and I disagree with him! Admittedly, you are not one of these types that resorts to screaming...which is why.... Run for Office, dammit.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @marcopolo
        Well if it was a GOPer imposing the tax, it can be viewed as hypocritical and spiteful since their stance these days is generally that ALL TAXES ARE BAD. So if they tax something, it is because they must feel that thing thing being taxed is worse than government itself. But it really comes down to intent. If you are taxing just to fairly get some road maintenance money from EVs, that is fine. If you are taxing such that EVs end up paying more than other cars then you are just being punitive against those hippie tree-hugger unAmerican cars.
          marcopolo
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Spec
          @Spec, I see....let's see if i understand, if the Republicans do something it's got to be from evil intent, but if the democrats do the same thing it's wise and necessary? Well, that sounds reasonable.........
          marcopolo
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Spec
          @ Spec, Ezee, Hey you didn't seem taken with my Tax tire idea? I thought it encompassed all points of view very fairly. maybe it could be Spec's first campaign policy promise. :)
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a slap in the face. Yes, there will be reduced road tax revenues associated with electric vehicles, but right now there are so few on the road that the $100 will make no difference to government coffers. I know I sound more like a tree hugging hippie than the evil right wing extremist that I am, but every incentive should be given to not so much help the EV industry, but to just get out of their way and let them establish themselves and thrive. What about the reduced costs of DEATH from less smog? The reduced costs of road maintenance from not contributing to tankers driving down the road? The drivers will still pay tolls on toll roads for goodness sake... I understand that at some point, when EV's constitute 10% or more of vehicles on the roads we will need something (evil right wingers do understand the need for roads and really do not like pot holes, really, we do) but the time for this is NOT now.
        atc98092
        • 7 Months Ago
        @EZEE
        Since Washington state (I live here) is completely controlled by the Democrats (House, Senate and Gov) we get taxed up the wazoo. That is their solution for everything. I completely understand the need to fund the state, but we have too many agencies with too many managers. And some of the nonsense that is funded at the state (and federal) level is just crazy in tough economic times. I get so tired of all the "Arts" grants and funding sometimes. However, I would actually support something like this. EV drivers have to pitch in via some method, but I would be drasticly against any sort of monitoring of my driving to calculate my actual miles driven. As others have mentioned, it's still far less than we pay in gas/diesel taxes here.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      This pisses me the hell off.
      DRstrangelove
      • 3 Years Ago
      idiots
        Jason Allen
        • 7 Months Ago
        @DRstrangelove
        You are many people right? You are "Drs. Trangelove" right? Sorry. I'm getting tired.
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