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Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Owners Could Pay Additional Taxes

2013 Nissan Leaf
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If you live in a state that charges gasoline tax and you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle, you may have to start paying extra fees. ABC News reports that North Carolina, along with some other states, is considering legislation that would charge fees to electric and hybrid car drivers. Many states depend on a gas tax to fund road maintenance. With more fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles on the road, state governments who charge this tax aren’t receiving as much money and are looking at other fees to make up the shortfall.

In an editorial arguing against the new fees, USA Today says, “As of the beginning this year, state gas taxes ranged from a high of 50.6 cents a gallon in New York to a low of 8 cents in Alaska. Most states have plenty of room to bump up their taxes without resorting to more intrusive alternatives.”

North Carolina State Senator Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, supports the annual fee proposal that would charge $100 for electric vehicle owners and $50 for hybrid vehicle owners. He tells Wilmington, North Carolina’s Star News, “We earn our revenue (for state) transportation from three sources: fees, highway use tax, or the 3 percent tax on automobile purchases, and the motor fuels tax, also known as gas tax.” He adds, “[The gas tax] is about 55 percent of our revenue.” 

CNN writes that Washington state passed a bill in 2012 to charge electric car owners a $100 annual tax. Plug-in hybrids and any electric vehicle that isn’t able to travel over 35 mph are exempt from this tax.

USA Today says Virginia has already removed its previous 7.5 cent gas tax and replaced it with a wholesale fuel tax of 3.5%, an increase in state sales tax, a hotel tax and $64 annual surcharge on hybrid vehicles. USA Today adds, “The sales and hotel taxes force many people who don’t drive on Virginia roads to subsidize those who do. And the hybrid fee punishes people who act in the nation’s interest by purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles.”

New Jersey is considering alternatives to their current gas tax. The proposed bill reads, “Every passenger vehicle registered and title in [New Jersey] shall be subject to a vehicle miles traveled fee in an amount equal to 0.83906 cents per mile.” The bill is supported by State Senator Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic City.

Automakers are trying to meet CAFE standards of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025, so drivers can expect to see more state governments that have depended on gas tax propose new ways to get money for their transportation expenses. According to CNN, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon and Texas should be coming out with their own proposals soon.

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