Opting to buy a battery-powered vehicle means that owners no longer need gasoline and, therefore, don't have to pay gas taxes. Right? Well, for residents of the state of Washington, that sort of depends on the outcome of Senate Bill 5251.

The bill, introduced in the state Senate, calls for electric vehicle owners to pay a $100 annual tax fee, in lieu of a gas tax, to register their battery-powered rides.

Senate transportation committee chairwoman, Mary Haugen, a lead sponsor of the bill, claims that it's about maintaining the state's roadways:
Electric cars will be driving on the highways right along with all the other cars. One of our biggest issues is preservation and maintenance of our existing highways. We believe they should be paying their fair share.
The Washington Department of Transportation estimates that owners of gasoline-fueled autos pay, on average, $204 per year in gas taxes. The state's gas tax stands at 37.5 cents per gallon. While Haugen claims that Senate Bill 5251 would impose a fee upon electric vehicle owners, some others, like anti-tax activist Tim Eyman, point out that it's actually "a tax."

Here's what it all boils down to: if Senate Bill 5251 is approved, the governor's office projects that the imposed $100 fee would add approximately $400,000 in 2013 and $1.9 million by 2017 to the state's operating budget. Once again, it seems like this is an argument over money.

[Source: Seattle Times | Image: Tax Foundation]

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