One in six households can party like it's 1979 by purchasing a plug-in vehicle. Add a thumpin' sound system to that vehicle and you can celebrate by pumping out an appropriate hit from that year, too. We think Chic's Good Times would be appropriate.

Thanks to special rates for households with battery-electric of plug-in hybrid vehicles, about 21 million households (a sixth of the country's total), can drive their car for the equivalent of about 75 cents a gallon. The numbers come from a study from Northeast Group. Seventy-five shiny pennies for a gallon is about a fifth of what current gas prices are today and is equal to what folks were paying way back during the waning days of disco in 1979. Let's get down.

There was new on the lower rates for EV-charging last month when Minnesota became the first US state to mandate that investor-owned utilities offer plug-in vehicle owners such discounts. In addition to Minnesota, California, Hawaii, Maryland and Texas were among the 14 states with utilities offering EV-friendly electric rates. Sounds like it's time for 36 states to catch up.


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  • 16 Comments
      jeff
      • 4 Months Ago
      And with 5kw solar on a roof, even less!
      Greg
      • 4 Months Ago
      I didn't know TX offered such rates. Without them, fueling an EV is about a third as expensive as gasoline. That's already cheap enough to pay for the added up-front costs over the life of the car. I wonder if it is a temporary incentive, or if it's supposed to be permanent.
        Spec
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Greg
        TX is (ironically) a GREAT state for EVs since they have so many wind turbines and those wind turbines generated a lot of power at night when there are few customers. Thus, EVs are perfect for charging up overnight using that excess wind-generated electricity.
      • 4 Months Ago
      do you have any details on Texas offering reduced rates? Usually, electricity rates are handled at a much more local level than the state. City of Austin utilities has a whole page about the incentives offered here (such as 50% rebate for installing a charging station at home), but nothing about reduced rates. Maybe you just mean that there is some utility in the state that offers a reduced rate. That's cool, but having even having one in every state is a far cry from everyone in those states getting the discount. I don't see anything about Texas or 14 other states in the source article, so you must have found this info elsewhere. Please share the source of that info, and clarify the context of the rebate.
      JackieRay
      • 4 Months Ago
      if you deduct al the taxes on gasoline and oil you pay to fund road repair you too could drive cheaper too EVs are getting a free ride on our dime
        SublimeKnight
        • 4 Months Ago
        @JackieRay
        I'm sorry, gasoline is not taxed at 400%. Average gasoline tax in the US (state and federal combined) is about 50 cents a gallon.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 4 Months Ago
        @JackieRay
        Yes JackieRay, but you are screwing up my breathing air with your stinky ICE so you should pay for my EV.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 4 Months Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          That JackieRay, and your creating droughts and adding to the national trade deficit. But I dislike your stinky car in my neighborhood. Even if it is new now it will stink in 5 or 10 years. Yours also creating larger storms and elevated sea levels and it takes a bunch of money to fix these things from your stinky pile, you should pay for my lovely EV as you are clearly willing to sacrifice nothing. Please don't breed as you will incite more wasteful, pollution in your offspring and are not willing to be inconvenienced at all to make this world a better place.
        paulwesterberg
        • 4 Months Ago
        @JackieRay
        I agree that road users should pay their fair share to maintain the roads. I would be fine paying an extra $100 per year on my vehicle registration to offset gas taxes not collected on my electric vehicle. But electric vehicles are not the real problem why our roads are in disrepair or the only road users who are not paying their fair share. According to a GAO study, road damage from one 18-wheeler is equivalent to 9600 cars.* One Semi trucks usually get about 5-6 mpg so the gas taxes for driving one over a given distance are similar to the gas taxes for 4 pickup trucks(20mpg) or 8 cars(40mpg) driving the same distance but the semi truck does way more road damage. As truck aerodynamics are improved and vehicle mileage is increased the damage done by the enormous vehicle weight will bankrupt our transportation system if changes are not made. Semi trucks should pay road taxes in proportion to the damage they do. *(p.23 of study, p.36 of PDF) http://archive.gao.gov/f0302/109884.pdf
          Actionable Mango
          • 4 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Roads are funded by more than just the gas tax. You make a good point. To be fair, I'd soften it a bit by pointing out that semi-trucks pay $8,000 to $10,000 taxes per year for registration. Cars pay $50-$200. Granted, that's not the nearly whole proportion you listed, but it's also fair to say that someone driving his or her car doesn't benefit anyone else, so 100% of the damage caused by that car should be paid for by that car's owner. Contrast that to trucks, which carry goods used by literally everyone, so while taxpayers are repairing the road damage from them, we are also the people benefiting from them. It's not like semi-trucks are used for vacation, road trips, or cruising, they are driving for us after all.
          Actionable Mango
          • 4 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Wow, my sentence structure was awful. Does the new commenting system have an edit button?
          Greg
          • 4 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          This is why I roll my eyes at people who whine about bicycles not paying their share for using roads. Bikes cause virtually no damage, even on trails that are nothing more than an asphalt strip laid directly on the ground, and even then, those trails can last over a decade with zero maintenance. But getting back to cars & taxes for road maintenance, I am in favor of banning semis from roads not designed for them. Virtually all curb damage around my town is from semis unsuccessfully making turns. If the semis stay away from those roads, required maintenance (and costs) would drop precipitously, not to mention their effect on traffic. Furthermore, because EVs don't pay gas taxes, I can fully support a broader, more diversified taxing policy. For example, a combination of low income, sales, and property taxes work better than a single, large tax of any one source. Don't eliminate the gas tax, but reduce it and then add a small increase on registration with a small tax on miles driven (derived from odometer readings at time of registration), and maybe a small tax on electricity for those who get the discount rate described in the article. Since taxing a thing yields less of that thing, good tax strategy does not rely entirely on on source, regardless of how 'fair' people think it would be.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 4 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          No, people should elect to be inconvenienced and do the right thing. Because of ICE external contributions we have droughts, powerful storm, stinky city air, food shortages, forest fires, high expenses for repairing homes from floods and powerful storms, ICE drivers should pay for these things, when they start paying for them I will be happy paying higher taxes for my EV. I am paying for ICE drivers plenty, with my very health I am paying. I have a right to clean air, pay for your pollution, ICE drivers.
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Agree on both points. I would have no problem paying $100/year on my EV as well, I should contribute to road building. And the semi-trucks SHOULD pay MUCH more. They damage the roads. And by increasing their costs, that will incentivize transport services to build and use more rail which is FAR more fuel efficient and does not harm roads. There should be more rail transportation for long hauls and then local electric delivery trucks for delivery from rail depots to individual stores.
          Snowdog
          • 4 Months Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          There is another huge factor. While gas taxes contribute to roads. They don't pay for them in total. They don't even pay the majority. http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-tolls-pay-only-third-state-local-road-spending >66% of Road funding comes from general revenues. So everyone who pays taxes, pays for roads, and on average, they pay a lot more through regular taxation than gas taxes. So EV drivers still pay for roads, cyclist still pay for roads etc...
        Nick Kordich
        • 4 Months Ago
        @JackieRay
        I'm paying about 25% more toward road maintenance now that I'm driving an EV. I used to drive an old Honda and I paid about $100 in gas tax and under $50 for registration (which also goes toward road maintenance). Now I pay nothing in gas tax, but I pay close to four times what I was to renew my registration, since the value of the car affects the price of registration. As a result, I am paying about 25% more toward road maintenance than I would have been if I was still driving on gasoline. The registration is a state fee while the federal gas tax goes into the federal Highway Trust Fund, but they both fund the same projects. Only 1/6th of the money going into highway maintenance comes from federal funding, with state and local input making up the rest. Furthermore, only about 1/6th of highway funding is going into road maintenance - the larger portion of it is going into capital investments like new bridges and new routes. The main difference, aside from paying more, is that the money goes to roads I might drive on. In California, where I am, we're a net payer state: we feed in more money into the system than we're taking out (in both the general sense and the highway system). Part of the reason for that is the EPA is fining California for not meeting air quality standards in Southern California on smoggy days. The state gets less funds to widen roads that would reduce the amount of time ICE vehicles spend idling in traffic - it's sort of a "floggings will continue until morale improves" scenario. My registration fees go to offset a shortfall caused by pollution, costing the state billions every year (alongside the more direct costs of air pollution: billions in lost productivity and emergency room visits for respiratory problems, 90% of which are paid for by the state and federal government). On the other hand, Alaska's a net taker state, ******* up $3.7 in federal highway funding for every dollar they chip in, and spending it on bridge-to-nowhere projects. The most infamous one was cancelled by then-governor Palin...who not only didn't return the money, but proceeded to take another $15 million in federal funds to build a highway spur leading out to where the bridge would have been *after it was canceled*. The latest fiasco is a $1 billion bridge that the city of Anchorage was suing to stop, on the grounds that it would interfere with the vital Port of Anchorage (assuming they build it instead of just taking the money...). @JackieRay, I'm open to paying into a federal EV road fund, if you can convince me of two things: a) that the solution is throwing tax money at the federal government and b) that it's not a case that Alaska and 22 other states like it that take more than they chip in are not getting a free ride on my dime. If you think you can sway me to your tax-and-spend ways, I'd like to hear it. In the meantime, I'm not losing sleep over my paying more than I was and seeing less of it go to porkbarrel projects in other states.
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