Washington bill wants electric car owners pay fuel taxes too

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 22, 2011

There is a proposed bill in the state of Washington that seeks to have electric-car owners pay a fee during registration. The group that supports this bill finds it unfair that owners of battery-electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Roadster, don't pay fuel taxes that help support road maintenance.

State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen said that these EV drivers use the same roads as other Washingtonians who currently pay a state gas tax of 37.5 cents per gallon. In the proposal, electric-car owners are asked to pay a special $100 fee each year.

Haugen said the bill is intended to ensure that EV owners pay their fair share into the state's highway fund, which is supported by a gas tax.

There was a similar measure in the Senate in 2010 but it has since been silenced. Eventually, owners of alternative-fuel vehicles would have to pay road taxes and Washington may be the first state to offer a reasonable solution.

The fee of $100 each year isn’t at all excessive. The owner of a gas-powered vehicle would pay $100 in state gas taxes after buying 266 gallons at 37.5 cents a gallon. This is equivalent to 6,666 miles of driving for an individual whose vehicle averages 25 miles per gallon.

It isn’t likely that most EV drivers in Washington state will travel more than that in a year. Analysts for the governor's budget office estimate that the average owner of a conventional car or light truck in Washington pays $204 in state gas taxes each year. [via autonews - sub. required]

Topics: electric car

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