by Kaushal Kumar
Starting in 2020, more states are looking to increase or add fees to the registration of electric or hybrid vehicles. This year more than 8 states have added or increased their fees on the registration of electric vehicles. Most notable of these states are California, Iowa, Oregon, and Utah whose populations of electric car drivers is over 50% of the national total.
While many electric vehicle drivers are not welcoming the addition of these fees, more than half of US states have some form of fees for electric drivers implemented. Most states choose a set fee every year that is paid when renewing the registration of the hybrid or electric vehicle. However, other states like Utah and Oregon have different options that, if drivers choose, will charge them a set fee for every mile driven in their electric car in the year, capping off at the car’s registration fee.
These instituted fees will pay for the lost tax revenue that the state normally receives through taxes on gasoline and diesel and will go towards the development of state infrastructure. Before the implementation of registration fees, or fees for using the states’ roads, electric car drivers were not contributing to the total cost of the upkeep of our country’s roads. According to Ryan Glon, “the driver of a sedan that returns 25 mpg pays $301 in taxes annually, and a $187 chunk goes to the state. The driver of a 50-mpg plug-in hybrid contributes $150 to the budget, which reduces the state’s share to $93, while those who commute in an electric car, absent taxes, pay precisely $0.” The current fees in place have drivers paying anywhere from $50 to $200 dollars per year, depending on the state and plan that the driver chooses (Source).
These fees hint at a larger problem that seems to be looming with the soaring popularity of electric vehicles. Fees like this show how our government cannot maintain offering benefits for owners of green technology. Similar things can be seen in the cuts to the tax benefits electric car owners used to receive due to the large increase in hybrid and electric vehicles. While charges like these are necessary to allow the government to pay for the preservation of state and national infrastructure, it draws from the incentive to buy an electric vehicle, and in the long run may hurt our world in its battle against climate change.