Republicans propose tripling electric vehicle taxes

A bill was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee this week to triple the fee already paid by all-electric vehicle owners for registration renewal, more commonly known as vehicle tabs. The annual fee would be increased from $75 per year to $229. It also imposes a new $114.50 registration surcharge on hybrid vehicles. All funds would be distributed into the highway user tax distribution fund (HUTDF) for road construction and maintenance.

An all-electric vehicle registration surcharge was imposed in January 2018 to require electric vehicle owners to contribute to road maintenance, since these vehicles are not paying into the HUTDF through the gas tax. Since all-electric vehicles don’t pay a gas tax, there may be some justification in requiring drivers to help pay for a portion of road maintenance expenses. However, more than tripling the surcharge punishes drivers for owning an electric vehicle and ignores their contributions to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Mandating all-electric vehicle owners and hybrid vehicle owners to pay more than their fair share for road maintenance is bad public policy and disincentivizes the purchase of energy efficient vehicles. (S.F. 1086)