Washington Senate Passes Bill to Charge Electric Vehicle Owners a $100 Annual Fee

By · February 16, 2012

Coulomb charging station in Washington

Washington's Senate passed a bill that call for owners of electric vehicles to pay a $100 annual fee to compensate for not paying gas taxes. The bill must be passed by the House to become law.

The state of Washington's Senate has passed a controversial bill that calls for owners of electric vehicles to pay a $100 annual fee to compensate for the lack of gas taxes.

The bill—sponsored by democrat Senator Mary Margaret Haugen—aims to makes up for lost gas taxes by charging owners of fully electric vehicles a $100 annual fee. The fee, which reportedly doesn't apply to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, extended-range electric or neighborhood-electric vehicles, will be used for road services, including repairs to streets and other road-related activities deemed necessary by the state. The $100 annual fee aims to make up for lost gas taxes, which checks in at 37.5 cents per gallon in Washington.

"We think the purchase of electric vehicles is great for the environment, but we also need to maintain our roads, which is why we have the gas tax," said Senator Haugen. "Electric vehicles put just as much wear and tear on our roads as gas vehicles. This simply ensures that they contribute their fair share to the upkeep of our roads."

Senate Bill 5251 was introduced in 2011. The bill passed the Senate last year, but didn't receive the necessary support from the House. Mary Haugen, the Senate's transportation committee chairwoman, along with the rest of the state's Senate, voted on Saturday to pass the bill 31-16.

“Before accepting an application for a vehicle registration for an electric vehicle that uses propulsion units powered solely by electricity, the department, county auditor or other agent, or subagent appointed by the director shall require the applicant to pay a one hundred dollar fee in addition to any other fees and taxes required by law. The one hundred dollar fee is due at the time of initial vehicle registration and annual registration renewal.”

Wording in Washington Senate Bill 5251

The bill now moves on to the House. If passed, electric vehicle owners will pay up to $1.9 million to the state's budget by 2017.

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