• Mar 16, 2012
General Motors has gone on record to oppose a Washington State bill that would impose a fee of $100 per year on electric-vehicle drivers.

GM Regional Director Howard Lenox, Jr. wrote a letter on March 6 to Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire stating that the automaker, which makes the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid, is against such a bill. The state is proposing the fee as a way for EV drivers to compensate for the gas taxes that they otherwise wouldn't be paying. The letter was posted on GM's The Future Is Electric blog.

"A fee which singles out electric vehicles will be a disincentive to the growth of the electric vehicle market in Washington State," Lenox wrote in the letter. "As a practical matter, there are so few vehicles on Washington's roads today that their impact in replacing fuel tax revenues will, for now, be negligible."

While drivers of the Volt actually wouldn't be subject to such a fee because its onboard generator is gas-powered, GM appears to be looking ahead as the automaker looks to electrify more of its fleet to meet more stringent greenhouse-gas emissions requirements.

Last month, Washington State passed Senate Bill 5251, which was introduced by Mary Haugen, the Senate's transportation committee chairwoman. The fee, which is subject to a vote by the state's House of Representatives, is estimated to add as much as $1.9 million to the state's coffers by 2017. Arizona, Oregon and Kansas are among other states looking at instituting fees that specifically target electric vehicle drivers.

What do you think, should states enact taxes on EVs to recover lost gas tax revenue? Vote in our poll below, then have your say in Comments.



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  • 110 Comments
      Tfree
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's tax nonsmokers for all the money we lose by convincing people to stop smoking and no longer pay cigarette taxes.
      mycommentemail
      • 2 Years Ago
      Eventually it makes sense to enact a law like this. Like Wrangler says, if you use a road you should help pay for it (beyond the general taxes that we all pay that go to roads). That said, it hardly makes sense to do this now. There are at most several hundred EV's on the road in Washington. There are many many reasons why transitioning to electric cars is in our best interest., not the least of which is energy independence. Just like we offer tax incentives to home owners to promote an ownership society, we offer financial incentives to electric cars to promote the transition to a new technology. Not having to pay an extra fee on an electric car helps make the economic case for an individual to purchase this kind of technology. Once the cars have matured and start to overtake gas powered cars as the default choice for a large minority of people, that is the time to consider this bill. Ideally Washington state (and others) would pass this bill with a built in trigger: Once more than 20% of the state's population has converted to electric cars then the fees will start to be implemented (at 20%, 20% of the fee, at 30% 50% of the fee, at 40%, 75% of the fee, and the full amount when 50% of the cars are electric). That way the bill is passed now when it has some backing, but the drag on the EV market is all but eliminated until the time when people will buy the technology regardless.
      BLS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's make a deal. Electric car drivers don't have to pay road taxes and the rest of us don't have to subsidize their purchase.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just another example of how messed up our tax code it. Its just a band-aid solution on top of another band-aid solution simply because too many folks out there are so clueless about what it really takes to run a modern country and have been bamboozled over the past 30 years to think that any and all taxes are down right evil. Until the voters wake up to the realities that we live in, we will continue to play this silly shell game.
      grandpa
      • 2 Years Ago
      To the extent that the fees collected are truly spent for the specific purpose of roads maintenance and repairs and nothing else then probably, maybe, sorta, kinda with reservations... yes. If it is just another layer of money collected from the publics automobile owners to be used for general budget expenses then no and hell no..... I no longer trust any politicians "good intentions" or plans for spending my income, especially when they do it in advance of my earning it.
        doejoe7hiya
        • 2 Years Ago
        @grandpa
        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/transportation/july-dec07/infrastructure_08-15.html MARY PETERS, U.S. Secretary of Transportation: "MARY PETERS: Well, Gwen, the problem is, I think we have to examine where we're spending money today. And if we think that we're spending money today in the highest and best use, then perhaps we would need to make that discussion, but I don't believe we are. You know, I think Americans would be shocked to learn that only about 60 percent of the gas tax money that they pay today actually goes into highway and bridge construction. Much of it goes in many, many other areas. And as we don't -- we're not disciplined today to say, are we spending that money where it is the highest and best use of that money? Are we giving the American public the best return on investment for that money? And we owe it to ourselves to answer those questions before we ask Americans to dig down in their pockets and pay even more gas tax."
      GirchyGirchy
      • 2 Years Ago
      The problem is that it's called a 'gas tax' - it should be referred to as a 'road tax'. Last time I checked, electric vehicles use the same roads as gasoline or diesel burning cars, so they should pay up. Personally I think the gas tax should be higher than it is now - the US infrastructure is crumbling but no one wants to pay for it.
        avconsumer2
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GirchyGirchy
        Nope... that's what they call the major portion of a tax due when changing registration in some states. ("road use tax") Seriously though... running out of names for taxes... think about that for juuust a minute.
      Scr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Many states already are doing this with other alt fuel vehicles, such as CNG and especially biodiesel. People who brew their own biodiesel are supposed to pay the token sum because while they are utilizing the roads, they are not paying any fuel tax which is supposed to PAY for the roads. Stop being so damned cheap, you are supposedly already saving a ton of money, stop complaining about paying a fee for something you actually use from your government.
        creamwobbly
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Scr
        Maybe if the tax weren't hidden, it would be fair. Pay a road fund tax, like in the UK. Couple it with a roadworthiness test, and everyone's winning... except for all those folks driving around in unsafe vehicles. And then the road fund tax could pay for buses, bus pullouts, and so forth. But heck, I'd better stop before some cheap lout accuses me of "socialism"...
      Jake
      • 2 Years Ago
      EV drivers should pay for road use too, but I think it's a bit early on in the game to be talking about this.
      Making11s
      • 2 Years Ago
      So people using the roads shouldn't pay for their construction and maintenance?
      CarCrazy24
      • 2 Years Ago
      Agreed with Avinash, if EV cars use our roads and degrade them as much as any other car, they should contribute to the taxes needed for their upkeep. Considering how much tax we in CA pay for each gallon of gas, the fee should be a LOT higher than just $100 per year
      tegdesign
      • 2 Years Ago
      I also think WA might want to add a non-smoker fee to make up for tax revenue lost on less and less people smoking. Money grubbers.
      Masschine
      • 2 Years Ago
      With improvements in gas mileage revenues per mile dr mile driven have dropped so they should not only raise gas taxes a penny or two but charge a use tax for pure electric vehicles. People bitch and moan about taxes but then they scream bloody murder when they break a rim or suspension part on a pot hole that couldn't be fixed because there's no money to fix it.
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