States Consider Taxing Electric Cars to Make Up For Lost Gas Tax Revenue

· · 7 years ago

Politicians in at least three states are reportedly considering the creation of plug-in car taxes. The new fees would be intended to fill the budgetary void created by falling gas tax revenue as drivers gradually abandon oil for electric drive. Legislation about to be introduced in Oregon, Washington, and Texas would establish Vehicle Miles Traveled taxes for EVs, which in most cases would be tracked by a car's GPS system and sent to a database that would calculate how far each driver travels and how much they owe.

Different states have always had different methods for imposing road taxes on drivers. Some include them as an up-front fee when a vehicle is registered, using the value, weight, or class of vehicle to determine how much to charge. In the case of Oregon—which completed a study on the efficacy of using a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax several years ago—the vast majority of road maintenance and construction funds are collected from a 30 cents per gallon gasoline tax.

As a result, Oregon is one of many states that has been toying with the idea of switching to a VMT tax, which would ensure that drivers of hybrid, electric, and fuel-efficient gas vehicles pay their fair share for using the roads. Though the initial Oregon bill, HB 2328, applies only to plug-ins, VMT-like taxes are likely to one day become a preferred method for collecting road fees. That is, if governments can convince citizens that GPS monitoring of their driving habits doesn't infringe too far upon their privacy.

Too Much Privacy Infringement, Not Enough Cars

In its current form, HB 2328 includes a provision that would create an alternative non-GPS method for collecting driving data in an effort to provide some peace of mind to privacy-conscious citizens. Studies suggest that while most drivers wouldn't have a problem with paying for road use on a per-mile basis, few want Big Brother poking around in their navigation systems. But how to implement such a law in a fair and accurate way without violating driver privacy is a question that remains unresolved.

With so few electric vehicles on the road so far, many also might also question whether the cost and headaches associated with introducing a plug-in tax are really worth it. Oregon's legislation wouldn't kick in until 2014, but even then, the loss in gas tax revenue from electric vehicles alone is likely to be minimal. Though using EVs as a trial program for a larger VMT structure may make sense given their limited numbers and typically advanced navigation consoles, to many electric-drive advocates, the plan would single out a technology that the government is attempting to encourage—and possibly raise red flags for some potential buyers.

Would you be less likely to purchase a plug-in if you knew that it meant the government would be able to access information about your driving habits—even if that information were limited to how much driving you had done in and outside of your state's borders and when?

If you'd like to read more about the proposed Oregon bill, check it out here.


· · 7 years ago

hey zack i'm gonna do something crazy and actually agree with you on this one. not in any favor of EVs, but for simple infringement on privacy and freedom. i happen to live in the most 'progressive' town in the nation(portland of course), and i'll be damned if i'm ever required to put a tracking device in any one of my vehicles. aside from that, it essentially penalizes someone driving a more efficient car and effectively reduces the tax paid for driving something like an old truck. i'm sure the brilliant minds running our states government understand that, so i know that specifically isn't their intent as they would rather everyone ride bicycles and the train in this town anyway. so it is simply a scheme to further impede our freedom, disguised(as many political agendas are) as some type of tax measure. of coarse EVs should pay the same road use taxes, but why don't we somehow make it proportional to the electricity that is used, not as a blanket tax on everyone that can be used to determine someones location and driving habits. this could also have implications with insurance rates. some companies are already doing this as an optional policy. yes i like to drive fast. sometimes i may seem reckless compared to an old lady in a camry. but i'm 26 and can honestly say i have Never had an at fault accisent, and only one NOT at fault with someone in a traffic circle that thought it was a good idea to exit the circle from the inside lane illegally and hit my quarter panel. boy was i mad too! anyway, good article zack lol, for more than just the EV implications!

· TD (not verified) · 7 years ago

It's time to stop pretending that only people who drive benefit from roads.

All people benefit from roads whether they bike, ride the bus or drive. How does the food get to your local grocer? How does that book you ordered on Amazon get to your house? How does the fire truck get to your house when it catches fire?

End the regressive gas taxes and replace them with scaled income taxes.

And stop playing silly games with this nonsense about how far you drive. This penalizes poor people more than any other group. Because they can't afford to live near the urban cores where the jobs are, they must driver further. I know very, very few people who choose to live far away from their jobs. Most often they move far away, because they can't afford to live closer.

· · 7 years ago

oh yes that reminds me bicyclists need to pay these taxes too if they can ride on the road pretending they're cars, while often breaking most of the traffic laws.

· · 7 years ago

I love the Pacific Northwest, but they have become such...high tech police state/nanny state sheeple I don't even recognize the place any more. The countryside (and I mean country) to the East of Vancouver Washington has cameras everywhere, why? Why is that ok, I don't get it. It's starting to look like London. They have done a good job for the most part of keeping there hands off the "internets" to help it grow, should be doing the same with ev's for the same reason. When adoption is widespread, institute a way of collecting a percentage of the revenue from everyones electricity bills, when the majority of drivers are driving plugins. Oh and they are talking about going East Coast U.S./Tokyo Japan and installing tolls everywhere with card readers so you dont even have to stop, it's deducted from your account as you wiz through.

· · 7 years ago

yep i might have to move away from this area soon with everything thats happening. i'd rather live in texas or kansas.

· · 7 years ago

Just read an article that in 2009, the Newark airport, investigating intermittent problems with their GPS approach, found the problem was a truck that passed daily on I-95, using a GPS jammer to neutralize the company tracker. Electronic warfare has unintended consequences. How about a road tax based on GVW. Simple, incentive to use lighter vehicles that are more efficient with energy, and less wear and tear on roads. Lets confine the electronic monitoring to drunks and criminals.

· JJJJJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

Sigh, so much wrong in so few comments.

Where do we begin?

"With so few electric vehicles on the road so far, many also might also question whether the cost and headaches associated with introducing a plug-in tax are really worth it."

Because it's harder to do it when more people have it. If someone gets 5 years of "free" driving, they do not suddenly want to start paying.

Compare putting a toll on an existing road (impossible) versus a toll on a new tunnel, bridge or highway.

If something is free on day 1, it becomes very hard to charge for it later.

"It's time to stop pretending that only people who drive benefit from roads. "

Correct. BUT people impact the road differently. Weight is what causes problems on roads, so it makes sense for a heavier vehicle to be charged more than a lighter one. It also makes sense for someone who drives 100 miles a day to pay more than someone who doesn't even own a car. Both will be using shipping services, but only the first is using the road for personal use. Removing road use fees further hurts those using public transit, bikes or walking while subsidizing expensive car owners.

"oh yes that reminds me bicyclists need to pay these taxes too if they can ride on the road pretending they're cars, while often breaking most of the traffic laws."

Are you saying that cyclists but not car owners are more likely to somehow avoid paying property taxes? Thats fascinating. Local roads, you know, the ones bike use, are paid for with property taxes. Gas taxes ONLY pay for highways, where bikes aren't allowed.

And of course, as I pointed out above, weight is the number 1 factor in causing wear and tear on roads. It's not a linear relationship either, it's exponential. Last I checked, an SUV weighs around 4,500lbs. A bike....200lbs total.

And in my daily commute, it's other car drivers who break the most laws, by not signaling, speeding, using a cell phone, not coming to a full stop before making right turns etc.

Anyway, there's no need to use GPS trackers. Simply an annual odometer reading. Easy. No privacy concerns at all.

· · 7 years ago

jjjjjjj either you must not live in portland or You're one of those crazy cyclists running rampant if you don't notice them breaking all the traffic laws. maybe i misled in my point the taxes for the cyclists should come in registration fees is what i meant. theres thousands of bike lanes in this city and now special green boxes at some stoplights and these should be paid for by the cyclists.

· · 7 years ago

ya but how does bro biggie know where you been been creepin jig?

· · 7 years ago

GPS tracking, no way. The next thing you know, they'll want to use that information to automatically generate traffic tickets!

For "pure" electric vehicles, a road tax based on odometer reading and vehicle weight wouldn't be so bad.

Plug-in hybrids are another story. How do you separate out electric miles and gasoline miles? The answer is that you really can't. The Prius, for example, can run on gasoline with electric assist (a "parallel hybrid"). Perhaps a flat fee based on vehicle weight and battery capacity would be the best compromise.

· · 7 years ago

abasile , always the voice of reason. Even for me, putting gas in your SUV so you can go to Borders books, wrong. Residential PVC, and plugging,awsome. As chicken Sheen says, "Win, Winning"

· · 7 years ago

Is New York the only state that has mandatory odometer reporting? Seems like that would be an easier way to manage the situation. Scale it with the size of the vehicle - heavier = more wear & tear on the roads = higher tax rate. Create special classes so commercial trucking gets a different rate than personal commuting. If you do a lot of driving out of state then be prepared to show evidence to that effect.

· Stephen Taylor (not verified) · 7 years ago

Here in Georgia, I have been paying a road tax specifically aimed at Alternative Fuel Vehicles for 9 years. I don't know how long it has been in place, but they charge $25 per year when I renew my car tag each year. For the fee I do also get access to the HOV lanes in Atlanta so that is a benefit that can be well worth the $25 to begfin with. Until this year it also included the Alt Fuel Tag, but starting this year they added an extra $35 for the specialty tag.

· Doug Whitehead (not verified) · 7 years ago

"ensure that drivers of hybrid, electric, and fuel-efficient gas vehicles pay their fair share for using the roads" EVs have a hard enough time trying to justify their TCO. Once EVs become commonplace, then apply such logic. At this point this looks like little more than an attempt to "knife the baby"

I agree odometer based taxing would seem fair and would avoid pesky privacy issues. But lets wait until EVs cross some threshold like 20% of all new car purchases. Little money will be raised by taxing unicorns and djinni.

· GSP (not verified) · 7 years ago

I am OK with report in miles travelled and paying road taxes on it for EV, PHEV, gas, diesel, CNG, etc. Vehicles.

However, where I drive, including what state, in not anyone else's business. I expect to be able to keep that info private.


· · 7 years ago

The states are going to have to come up with a way to replace the gas tax, there's simply no way around it. Ideally charging by the mile is the best way, and factoring in the vehicle's weight would be even better. I suppose they could make categories that have 500lb increments and give your car a classification. That would also give auto makers incentive to hit lower weight levels as it would make the car more desirable to buyers.

However I'm not sure what is the best method or reporting the mileage. Would you need to go to a facility annually and have it read? I'm not up with the GPS reporting at all. How then do you pay it? Annually? Monthly? Do you get a refund for the partial year if you sell your car and buy an ICE? Do we estimate this years payments based on last years mileage?

I guess this need to be tackled now and gotten out of the way before there are hundreds of thousands of EV's on the road and people start yelling about how they didn't expect this, even if it's not implemented just yet. There could be a trigger like once 50,000 EV's in your state are registered, then the tax takes effect, giving the early adopters a break for a bit, while not really impacting the revenue.

· · 7 years ago

Just updated this to include a link to the Oregon legislation. Reading the text it appears that for the purposes of the EV bill (which in theory will one day be extended to other vehicles,) there will be no central database collecting this information from the GPS system. Rather -- in what seems almost like a direct effort to make the lives of plug-in owners more difficult -- drivers would have to report their miles and pay the tax on a monthly basis. And the onus would be on citizens to prove that they were driving their car out of state.

GPS would still be used, but it seems like it would just be for auditing purposes. (What a relief, no Big Brother in your GPS, just more audits!) That's how I read it anyway.

SECTION 8. Reporting vehicle miles traveled. (1) A registered owner or lessee subject to the vehicle road usage charge under section 2 of this 2011 Act shall equip the electric motor vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric motor vehicle with technology, approved by the Department of Transportation, that provides for electronic reporting of miles traveled.

(2) On or before the fifth business day of each month, the registered owner or lessee shall report the number of miles the vehicle has traveled and pay to the department the amount due under section 2 of this 2011 Act for the preceding calendar month. The number of miles reported shall be rounded up to the next whole mile.

(3) The department may, by rule, permit registered owners and lessees to report and pay the vehicle road usage charge on a periodic basis other than the calendar-month basis pre-scribed in subsection (2) of this section. The department shall describe the process by which a registered owner or lessee may request and receive an alternative reporting and payment schedule.

There must to be a better way to do this that doesn't include audits, GPS tracking or monthly payments. Maybe this legislation was designed to frighten OEMs into creating a solution themselves?

I'm going to try and get in touch with one of the people at the center of this to get a clearer picture of what the plan really is here.

@Robert, I would think this would be the kind of issue that would make your blood boil. If anybody ever tried to pull off such a plan with the driving public at large (particularly a Democrat,) I'd imagine that the Tea Party rallies might get a whole lot bigger.

· · 7 years ago

Zach: You've got to be kidding!

OK so your in the dealership deciding if you really want to take the plunge and buy an EV. You know the upsides, an you know it's not going to really be as versatile as your ICE cars were, still you think it's the right thing to do and you are leaning towards buying one. The salesman than adds "Just so you understand everything, if you buy this car you'll have to call the state, or log into the states website and report how far you've driven every month, by the 5th of the month for as long as you own this car. It's so they can assess the appropriate fuel tax you'll have to pay"

Wonderful. There's got to be a better way.

· · 7 years ago

The methods employed to collect revenues by states and especially the federal government show their true intention, not just to collect revenue but to gather information and social engineering (yes, i just used a mainstream republican sound byte on a predominately "liberal" forum).

· · 7 years ago

Great, the worst of all worlds. Expensive, intrusive, AND difficult. I can’t wait. When do they start waterboarding us?

California DMV requires you report your odometer reading when you buy and sell a vehicle. Adding odometer mileage charge when you renew your registration each year would make more sense, with partial year payable on transfer. Already doing it for company vehicles. Nothing to buy. No autocracy required.

Can’t we all just get along?

· · 7 years ago

zach do you really think i'm partisan? because thats what it sounds like. i don't care what party it is, replublicrat or democraplican. whoever is going to try to sneak unconstitutional legislation into law is going to make my blood boil. i think the current conservative movement is moving beyond pity partisanship, and i'm NOT talking about that RINO cooke rush limbaugh either. i hope that theres so libs out there that feel the same way about the truth and the corruption and look past whether they claim blue or red for whatever reason. we all have our different opinions on some issues, and the fact that we can freely argue about it without censorship or fear of jail time is one of the reasons that we love this country. unfortunately it seems as though people with certain(conservative) opinions on certains subjects could possibly labeled as militia members and 'domestic terrorists'. hell i don't even own a gun, but i glad that i still have the right to if i chose to exercise that right.

· · 7 years ago

I'm with you there Robert. Though probably unintentional Zach's last couple posts are of the sort that tend to rile and get into political territory. It is somewhat unavoidable when a technology such as ev's is the subject matter as it is the government that has the most to say about things such as infrastructure, regulations, fees and tax collection etc. etc. Weird thing is looking at Zach's picture he doesn't appear old enough to vote...just kiddin you Zach!

· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 7 years ago

The government will be saving money on pollution problems like lung cancer, and gas stations and oil spills clean ups so why not encourage EV's?
It's a kind of plot to keep us on oil.
Where I'm from, we pay sales tax on electricity.
We pay tax on battery disposal so they'll likely have a hefty
battery replacement tax on EV's.
We also have tire tax when we buy tires and when we dispose of them. Tax tax tax.

· JJ - from Canada (not verified) · 7 years ago

They could tax tires of all vehicles, they are the ones on contact with the road and thus damaging the roadway :-)

Maybe the government should require us to measure our tire tread wear with a gauge and report that every month and make us pay tax on how much rubber we used :-)

We could have special tire tax police checking our tire treads depth.

· JJJJJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

robert, no I dont live in Portland, I live in California.

Again, registration fees do NOT pay for roads. The majority of those fees pay for the DMV bureaucracy. States also add fees for specific projects (ie, $5 for "signage updates", $10 for EV funding, $7 for crash cleanup etc etc). Rarely are any of those set aside for road maintenance.

Everything you see on local roads, the asphalt, the striping, and yes, even the green bike boxes, are paid for with PROPERTY taxes, which EVERYONE pays for.

Im also pretty sure if you added up all the bike lanes (5 feet wide times whatever length they run) and add up all the non-bike lanes (11 feet wide, times whatever length they run) youll find something like this:

The US average for commuting is about 1.5% on bicycle (this doesnt include non-commuting trips)
The US average for road spending is about 0.4% on bicycle infrastructure.

So bike lanes are massively underfunded.

But anyway, thats not the point of this article.

The point is, the highway trust fund is running low on cash, and as more EVs come online, it will be even worse. We need to find a way TODAY to pay for highways.

I don't think GPS is a good idea, I prefer annual (at most, bi-annual) odometer readings. To solve the "out of state driving" issue, simply have it collected by the feds and sent out proportionally.

· · 7 years ago


I really wasn't trying to imply partisanship, just that you seem like the kind of conservative who cares about privacy issues and overregulation. I also wasn't being sarcastic or chiding you when I said I thought it might make your blood boil, just agreeing with your first comment -- as I do with pretty much all of your most recent one.



· · 7 years ago

Glad you didn't put a D in front of that..:)

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

Robert wrote:

"oh yes that reminds me bicyclists need to pay these taxes too if they can ride on the road pretending they're cars, while often breaking most of the traffic laws."

Right on Robert.

I often make this joke when I see cyclists (all the time): "Look, I'm a car! Nope, now I'm not (while they break a traffic law). Now I'm a car again, respect me! Nope, now I'm not a car anymore."

· · 7 years ago

I'm tired of these f@%$ers too, with their Styrofoam helmets and spandex, stupid looking fanny packs and water bottles stressing everybody out trying to get around them because they insist on being out in the street doing half the speed of all the mechanized vehicles and not on the sidewalk where they should be. Overgrown children. They should have a tall flag and playing cards in their spokes, you know to help that massive class of victims, the visually impaired. But again, I'm just a gosh darn meanie.

· · 7 years ago

@Anonymous, @Robert: As a cyclist myself, I don't find it surprising when cyclists break certain traffic laws. It is not that I'm trying to condone lawbreaking, but you do have to admit that traffic laws and traffic control devices are really designed more for 3000 pound vehicles than they are for bicyclists. The potential consequences to others of blowing through stop signs in a car are much greater than if you do the same thing on a lighter, more nimble bicycle.

Back when we were in college and relied almost exclusively on bicycling for transportation, a good friend of mine and I enjoyed poking fun at cars and calling them "pollution modules". EVs are a big step forward, but they will of course never match the economy and low environmental impact of bicycling, not to mention the almost nonexistent wear on road surfaces. While predominantly overweight Americans would do well to bicycle more and drive less, there are of course plenty of circumstances in which it makes more sense to drive instead of bicycle.

In general, I do think we need to foster a culture of respect for bicyclists, who have every EV beat in terms of efficiency and energy independence, even if some bicyclists do behave badly at times.

· · 7 years ago

Alright abasile, you took the wind out of my sails. I will admit, a hell of alot the time a cyclist is doing the right thing by being on a bicycle, like couriers in an inner city environment or urban dwellers that have the option of commuting that way. I just wish they would stay on the side walk, slow down a tad if need be but stay on the side walk. They are not cars, they are the equivalent of a sprinting human but automobile they are not.

· · 7 years ago

@spicoli: I didn't see your post until after submitting mine. :-) All I will say is, when I am doing 20+ mph on my bicycle, you would not want me on the sidewalk. The overall risk of injury and property damage would be far greater than with me in the street. No, I'm not interested in slowing down to 8 mph so I can safely ride on sidewalks. (Actually, there are no sidewalks anywhere near where I live, but that's beside the point.)

In the great majority of cases, my observation is that bicyclists cause no more than very minimal delays to motorists. Besides, if you are driving an EV, slowing down is good for extending range. :-)

· Travisty (not verified) · 7 years ago

Why not set up a central database based off vehicle VIN. When taxes are due you log onto a state website and enter your vehicle VIN + SSN or something else to add security and up comes the miles from the previous year. You enter in your current miles and you get all the needed tax info right there. Simple.

For those who say, "People will just put in made up numbers so they don't need to pay," I'd agree that only the same percent that lie on their taxes will lie with this - a small percent of teh people and the IRS will catch up ith them sooner rather than later.

· JJJJJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

spicoli, riding on sidewalks is ILLEGAL for bikes in most of the country. It's also MUCH more dangerous. It's unfortunate that a cyclist using the road they paid for causes you a 17 second delay as you pass them. It's a crisis really. The UN should intervene. Heavens forbid you can't race to the next red as quickly. Of course, if the same person were in a car, it would be much harder to pass them, and you WOULD actually be delayed, because each additional vehicle causes delays to ALL other vehicles. That's how congestion works.

Anonymous, unless you havent noticed, bikes arent cars. Nor are they pedestrians, or trucks or boats. Problem is, all the road laws are written for cars, and that does NOT always make sense. States like California have laws that allow bikes (and motorcycles) to split lanes. Other states do not....which is idiotic as most states actually design the rightmost lane to be wide enough for a car and bike to fit in it, yet under the law, doing so is illegal! That doesn't make sense does is?

Or take trails designed explicitly for bikes, joggers etc. Some places ban sidewalk riding, but of course have to allow bikes to use the trails that are designed for them. But then you get to the crosswalk, and some states explicitly ban bikes from using the crosswalk (as they classify bikes as vehicles, and ban vehicles from crosswalks), making it effectively illegal for bikes to use the million dollar bike trails! It doesn't make sense. Only in 2010 did California pass a law explicitly allowing bikes to use crosswalks.

One last example: Many times you'll see bike lanes turn into right turn lanes with a sign saying "right turn ONLY". Except of course, bikes are expecting to go straight!

Heres an example on the southbound street

A bike might technically be breaking the law by continuing straight, but that's what the street is designed for. That doesn't make sense.

So until our elected officials get a brain and actually write up a set of laws for bikes, and stop trying to use laws for cars to apply to them, it's only rational to expect cyclists to break laws that simply don't make sense.

Basically, I invite you to ride a bike once in awhile so you can see for yourself why so many cyclists do things that don't make sense for you in your car. When the streets and laws are catered to you, they're easy to follow (even though most drivers break the law all the time). When the laws don't make sense to you on a bike, you're not going to follow a law that actually endangers you.

I drive, I bike, I walk. I have a pretty good idea of street design that is badly designed for each mode of travel and requires changes to be made.

Ever wonder why cyclists like to get going on red when the coast is clear? It sure looks selfish doesnt it? It's because bikes accelerate slow, and intersections are dangerous places due to turning vehicles. By getting a head start, the cyclists avoids a road rage incident when the vehicle behind them gets annoyed at the slow acceleration, AND avoids a right hook incident when the driver isnt looking to their right when making a turn.

Many times, going on red when the coast is clear is actually safer, depending on how the road is designed. But drivers dont understand this until they find themselves using a bike, following the letter of the law, and getting harassed or hit when doing so. proper design of bike lanes (a lane between the right turning lane and the forward lane) is one excellent way to get cyclists to follow the law by making following the law safe.

· JJJJJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

Oh and one last thing, my post above is NOT saying that ALL lawbreakers are doing it for safety....there are complete idiots out there of course.

Car example:
Good law breaking:
Freeway is signed for 60mph. Everyone is doing 75mph. If you do 60mph, and follow the law, you are actually making things more dangerous.
Bad law breaking:
Light is red, you dont stop.

Bike example:
Good law breaking:
Using the "right turn only" lane to go straight
Bad law breaking:
Light is red, you dont stop.

· JJJJJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

Aaaand one last thing:

Robert, you were taking specifically about Portland, and money spent on bike projects there.

You will be interested in todays article:
"Portland Mayor Sam Adams says Portland’s spent on its bike infrastructure what it would normally spend on a single mile of highway"

Thats right, life to date spending on all of the bike infrastructure in Portland Oregon is what it would take to create a single mile of highway.

· · 7 years ago

I guess I'm old school, and tend to look at bike riding from an 80's perspective, before helmets and before people were commuting on them. Back then I used to just pedal slowly along the sidewalk and would never have dreamed of being out on the street in a car lane, but then I don't think I even knew anyone with a 10 speed. I conceded that in a downtown inner city environment it is a good thing. I'll add that where provided with good bike lanes it is a good thing in that case too. It's not that I am in a massive hurry (ha!), I'm on island time brah, I just get a little white knuckle on these small roads trying to provide some semblance of safe passing clearance between me, oncoming traffic and bicycles. I get a little irrated sometimes but I suppose it's the county's fault for not doing things right.

· · 7 years ago

HAHA jjjjjj thats an interesting comment by our statutory raping lying mayor! since portland would never spend a dime on widening our freeways, much less building a new one! lets keep building MAX light rail thats already over built! i realize that bike lanes are cheaper than roads. i'm not implying that the bike reg fees should be any astronomical amount, just maybe $15-20 for two years. not expensive. but it would help cover the costs of all the cities expenses, which was probably funded by that catastrophic 'stimulus' spending anyway. i just dont get how its ok to keep raising taxes on everything except for these poor whiny cyclists. people always want something for free whenever they can i guess. i wish i could complain that it costs $124 for two year reg plus $17 deq test, but it could be worse. at least i don't live in japan where they intentionally tax older vehicles off the road with outrageous fee's, effectively subsidizing their automakers.

i'm with you on that spicoli when i was a kid i used to ride from my house into downtown and all the way out to gresham i would take hours in a day in the summers just exploring. ON THE SIDEWALK! thats until i was old enough to drive then i never looked back.

· JJJJJJ (not verified) · 7 years ago

spicoli, right on, the cyclist on the narrow lane is no more happy than you are. He'd be much more relaxed if the government had done their job and built infrastructure for EVERYBODY. If the only way to get from point a to point b on a bike is via a narrow road signed for 50mph, then don't blame the guy on the bike, blame the planners that screwed up the network. He's just trying to get to work, like you.

robert, I dont know what else to say. If you read the article, youll know it's a "fact check" type and the independent paper agrees with the mayor. So clearly, he isnt lying. And again, not one of those DMV fees pay for roads.

You seem to want to charge cyclists out of jealousy because you believe theyre using a road for free and youre not, when theyre actually paying a greater proportion relative to their use. That simply doesn't make sense.

And besides, the old lady down the street that leaves her house once a week for a grand total of 2 miles uses the road much less than you do when you use it for 20 miles a day. Does that mean your property tax should be 20 times higher? Of course not. I'm paying taxes for schools, and I don't want any kids, etc etc. It's impossible to micromanage taxes so everyone pays the exact amount they use.

You know what that $15 biannual fee you want would cover? It might just cover the salary of the guy who collects it and keep the database updated. It's just bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.

· · 7 years ago

isn't that what government is all about, is bureaucracy just for the sake of bureaucracy?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

GPS is fine as long as it ONLY tracks the mileage on your odometer.

Then when you renew your license sticker you should be charged a fee that is in line with other vehicles your size and or fuel efficiency.

· · 7 years ago

Why not just institute a tax on electricity that everyone has to pay and that equals the gas tax in purpose and function (and dollar amount) but don't get rid of the gas tax, keep it as well. I cant believe I'm saying this but this particular social engineering idea isn't about something minor like diversifying a campus or neighborhood or some other superfluous thing, it's about national security, food security, cleaner air etc.etc. The point would be that when people like myself get angry enough about paying both taxes (I drive an ICE) we would work harder to get ahold of an EV. You could file for a partial rebate on your electrical bill at tax time if your income was less than $30,000. I have heard the idea quite a few times of adding a massive tax to gas to increase interest in smaller cars and plugins but the benefit of my idea is that not only do you create an incentive to plug in, you increase revenue for an upgrade to the grid ahead of mass ev adoption. Thoughts?

· · 7 years ago

To clarify, as revenue from the gas tax drops, money from the electricity tax is shifted into roadways, with the remainder of the revenue stream from the electricity tax continuing to go into grid upgrade, public charging, public/private electrical projects charging stations etc. until at some point the only ones paying the gas tax would be trucking companies and other heavy equipment users (except ag, but another story). But, the trucking companies are the ones putting the most wear on the roadways so thats not so bad.

Less commuter car use of fossil fuel (globally) should have a positive impact on fuel prices for consumers of diesel and bunker fuels such as ships and trucks, lowering your cost for foods and other items. And, with this tax you don't have any privacy issues, call it Libertarianism with a Socialist streak, but then that kind of describes me anyway.

· Dave K. (not verified) · 7 years ago

I've got a better idea, as revenue from the gas tax drops just raise the rate, making it revenue neutral. This will encourage people to conserve fuel and speed the adoption of EVs and other Alt fuel vehicles. When there are so few gas and diesel cars left that this is impractical we can do something else but considering that they are still making them and they last for decades this shouldn't be a problem for a while.
Actually the Tire Tax makes a lot of sense, things with larger tires are heavier and damage the road more.

· · 7 years ago

Hmm, that's an interesting angle. It would be good to treat it like e-commerce has been treated, taking a hands off approach to help it grow. I was just thinking that you could grow the necessary electrical capacity and charging infrastructure and start modernizing and upgrading as necessary with an electrical tax. But only on a pay as you go basis, whatever money is available from the "E-Tax" would be the only money that is spent but initially ALL the money from the e-tax would be spent on electrical related projects. At some point the e-tax revenue can begin to shift back into roadways but at all times the tax on electricity should stay equitable to whatever gas tax that driver would likely be paying, with the real incentive for going ev being the much, much cheaper per/gal equivalent "fuel" to recharge your car.

With a recent court ruling that it is "legal" for law enforcement to sneak onto your property and place a gps tracking unit on your car without a warrant I would think some of these other schemes to collect a tax from ev drivers that include the use of gps will very quickly lead to an overly convenient way for the police to do their job.

· · 7 years ago

I agree with Dave K. that gradually increasing gasoline and diesel taxes is sensible (but at this point unfortunately seems to be political suicide). Even without adding EVs to the mix, as the average fuel economy of gas vehicles in the country continues to improve, gas taxes will have to go up to maintain the same amount of revenue. Even today, the amount of money collected in gas taxes is insufficient for our infrastructure needs.

Also, it is my opinion that, at this time, trying to collect road taxes from electric car drivers amounts to political posturing. Give EVs a chance to take off in the market and become less expensive before worrying about this. In the meantime, just think of all the money we won't have to spend defending our foreign oil interests. Not to mention reduced healthcare expenses as air quality improves, especially in smoggy places like the Los Angeles basin.

· Obvious Solution (not verified) · 6 years ago

Really? No one mentioned the obvious solution!

Create EVs in a way in which you can't electrically charge them at home and create electrical powering stations (and the cost cannot exceed what you pay in gas since that would be wrong).

The day EVs become mainstream (like 100 years from now), it'll be critical to have powering stations.

Its the best method of all methods because its essentially like a gas station.

And paying by the mile? If I wanted to do that, I'd call a cab.

· RFB (not verified) · 6 years ago

This charge tax by mile nonsense would be great if the economy could support it. Unfortunately already strapped for cash folks are having to divide what little revenue is there between 3+ bucks for a gallon of gas versus a 3 buck loaf of bread for the dinner table.

You don't jack up the cost of living, which DOES include driving a vehicle to get around, when the economy goes to the toilet. How do you expect recovery by making it impossible to pay for anything?

This makes as much sense as the debt based financial system we are in, which will never ever get out of debt because it functions and is based on debt. Without the debt, there is no system.

Pretty soon it wont stop at taxing you by the mile. How about taxing you by the breath, by the footstep, by the amount of passing gas, by the number of toilet flushes, by the drop from the faucet.

If there is one idea in the works, rest assured more are on the way.

How about the rich 1 percent make up the gap. They can afford it.


· Pat (not verified) · 6 years ago

Are these states full of idiocracy ...they want to tax you based on miles travelled .. keep track by GPS etc ..geez just charge a std rate for all these folks in state, counties can be freaking idiots coming up with this crazy ideas ... making simple issue complicated ...

· Anonymous (not verified) · 6 years ago

In my view they should also get tax REBATES for reducing the illness costs of smog. Less smog, less expense for area hospitals to treat heart and stroke disease and asthma. Less impact on area businesses for lost productivity.

Better yet, why not make users of gas cars PAY for the extra costs associated with pollution generated by their vehicals? That makes far more sense to me.

· JTznNV (not verified) · 5 years ago

Keep businesses moving to my state. Thank You so called "progressive" states. Good thing you progressive states hate Liberty so much. You all make about as much sense as Porsches new 918 sports car thats "green" has V8 and two electric motors that if on electric claim 94 mpg. The price 1.5 million dollars, I don't know about you but 1.5 million buys me alot of gasoline for what ever pile of crap I drive. Why does anyone need to live in such oppressive states? I see other ads for hybrids that cost over $45,000 and many over $60,000. Once again, if I own an old car, how are you saving money on gas spending $45,000? To me $45,000 goes along way to keep an old clunker running and filled with gas. One more thing electric vehicles need charged. They take power from an electric panel, from a power company that has to make it from Natural gas or coal for the most part, if you're lucky 1% to 1.5% of the power companies power comes from alternative. Natural gas needs to be used much more once the infrastructure is build along local and interstate highways.

· · 5 years ago

While I agree that so called "progressive" states are killing themselves in general, I suggest you take a closer look at your view on hybrids or EVs.
Regarding hybrids (that I consider to be gas guzzlers), the costs aren't very much greater than pure ICE today. Any premium is due to the desirability of hybrids among a particular sector of society. The $45K - $60K ones are plush luxury cars, similar to other cars that also cost around $45K - $60K. Basic hybrids are available for closer to $20K, just like any other car, they just don't guzzle as much gas. Nobody buys that Porsche for its fuel economy, they are using those electric motors to like a turbocharger to provide instantaneous torque.
As far as the energy source for EVs, sure, the energy comes from somewhere, however, unlike gasoline or natural gas cars that can only run realistically off of one fuel, EVs can get their energy from whatever source is available, including coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, oil, solar, etc.
Additionally, the extreme efficiency of the electric motor can exceed 45% (~80% including transmission wires, charging, and discharging), added to fixed-site powerplant efficiencies such as natural gas co-generation sites can be greater than 60% efficient). When you compare this to burning natural gas directly in a mobile ICE at less than 17% efficiency, you see that the EV can go about twice as far on the same amount of fuel.
The other factor that many of today's EV aficionados miss is the fun-factor that is available with an EV at nearly no additional cost. The instantaneous torque and low cost of an electric motor means that extreme sports car performance doesn't cost much more than a lower performance vehicle and, believe it or not, the fuel economy of a high-performance electric vehicle is generally better than a low-performance one.
As far as loss of liberty goes, other than government subsidies, I'm a lot more free having an EV in my driveway than if I was 100% dependent on gasoline for my transportation. I, personally, am opposed to government subsidies on anything, including oil, energy, or electric vehicles.
I agree with you that the electric grid has very little renewable content today. However, at least where I live, I have chosen to generate my own electricity so I generate as much electricity from my roof as I use for my driving. Oil or electric price or supply problems won't affect the cost of my transportation.
You won't hear me whine about gas prices like my gasoline-beholden friends do.
That's freedom!

· · 5 years ago

Washington State Passes Electric Vehicle Tax

In February, 2012, Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a tax on Electric Vehicles aimed at making up for lost gasoline tax revenues. The measure includes Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) and Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSVs) as well as plug-in electric vehicles from major automakers.

Washington State has one of the highest gas taxes in the nation at 37.5 cents per gallon. Added to the Federal 18.4 cent per gallon gas tax, it makes for a whopping 54.9 cents in taxes that Washingtonians pay per gallon of gasoline.

Since monies collected from gasoline taxes are used to repair and maintain roads and traffic infrastructure, lawmakers felt that the proliferation of electric-powered vehicles could cause a shortfall in the funds used for those purposes. The $100 annual fee is supposed to make EV drivers pay their fair share of these expenses.

The move is controversial for a number of reasons. Firstly, the number of electric vehicles currently on Washington’s roads is so small that the money raised by the new fee will be negligible for the foreseeable future. Secondly, with gasoline-powered vehicles becoming increasingly more efficient, less gasoline tax revenue is being collected anyway, leading some to suggest that a system of charging a tax-per-mile-traveled would be fairer for all vehicle owners. A similar move is already being considered in the Netherlands.

No one seems to dispute that EV owners should pay something toward the upkeep of the roads on which they drive. NEV and LSV owners, however, feel that the tax is too high for them, since most such vehicles are driven far less and are much lighter in weight than gasoline-powered vehicles, thus having a lower impact on the roads they drive.

Some question the timing of the tax. While many governments are offering incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles to help this fledgling industry grow, it seems to some to be counterproductive to then pass a tax that seems to “punish” electric vehicle drivers for their “green” choices.

It appears that the controversy will rage on for some time, as other states and municipalities consider similar measures to deal with decreasing gasoline tax revenues.

If you would like to know more, please read the following articles:

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.