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Gas taxes replaced by EV taxes -- a new paradigm?

A quote from this article, which also covers this trend across the US for replacing lost revenue from gas taxes:

The new year is only two weeks old, but we already have a candidate for one of the strangest public policy proposals of 2013. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell has proposed eliminating the state’s 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax, increasing the state’s sales tax to 5.8 percent from 5 percent, and levying a new $100 annual charge on vehicles that run on alternative fuels. Meanwhile, in Washington State, electric vehicle owners are subject to a new law that requires them to pay a $100 annual registration fee. It seems somewhat perverse. [...] But these moves also highlight a new reality.

Also relates to Oregon thread:

As a Virginia resident I believe we, in general, need to know how much things cost. So if the gas tax is not covering highway construction/repair expenses, then raise the tax to cover the expense. This allows drivers to evaluate the true cost of driving there car.

This also goes for EV's. Ideally I would tax power consumed to charge EV by requiring a separate meter. But meters are expensive and impractical, so it is reasonable for EV cars to pay an annual fee.

What McDonnell has proposed is insane. Drop the tax for ICE but add it to EV. I say tax both or neither.

To e-mail the VA Governor about your opinion on this subject go to

these new laws indicate that the oil lobby is getting nervous about the threat from the EV. its a good sign on one hand - validating that the threat is real, but it is somewhat perverse to see our government representative working against clean energy. IMHO

Boooo! Hisssssss!

A 4000 pound car is a 4000 pound car. It doesn't matter if it runs on gas or electricity it still has the same detrimental effect on the roadway. A flat fee is stupid, you punish the people who don't drive much and you subsidize the people who drive a lot. Electric cars should pay their fair share of maintaining the roads but it should be based on mileage. This is easy to do, each year when you renew your registration you pay x per 100 or 1000 miles. Every five years you have the mileage checked by the dmv.

I can argue that my lungs are getting abused by all the burned fossil fuel in the are and choke from the smell and annoyed by the noise. Leave the EV owners alone for a little while, we are talking a very minuscule market share!!! I'm sorry kevjo, I don't agree with your argument yet...YET!!!


Kevjo, have you ever seen a car belching fumes and smoke? Do you really think that Tesla owners should pay for all that pollution?

kevjo is right. It's not a pollution tax, it's a highway use tax. All cars should play by the same rules. If you want to tax carbon, then definitely make it a gas tax and add a charge to my power bill for the pollution associated with my power consumption. That seems fair to me.

I am good with it as long as the EV tax does not exceed what hybrid ICE owners pay. For example, a Volt owner will probably pay less in gas tax than the EV road tax for us purists, and they still pollute. There ought to be a minimum or a mileage kind of thing for highway maintenance.

Actually the Volt gets the EV federal tax break so they should also get the state's EV fee too.

Considering most drivers probably pay $40-$80 in gas taxes I think the $100 for EVs is a little high. They should double the gas tax and institute the EV fee.

I think the states are doing this now because they see 5 years down the road too many people will own BEVs and they will not let them pass these laws. With a small number of BEV owners the politicians will not loss enough votes to care. It probably has little to do with big oil.

There are two issues to consider -- one is fairly allocating the cost of maintenance of roads for those using them, and the second is using public policy to alter behavior. The gas tax is assumed to be reasonably fair since if you are using more gas, you are likely driving more miles. It also serves to encourage you to use a more efficient vehicle. EV owners aren't paying for that currently, and I agree that is a problem long-term. In the short term, it is probably better to use that as a way of shifting behavior than to try and penalize it.

Eventually, when everyone is driving an EV, you have to have some way to pay for roads. Trucks already pay based on mileage and number of axles, presuming that is a good proxy for how much wear they put on the roads. I suggest doing the same for vehicles -- when you register your car, you provide the odometer reading and you pay a cost per mile then. Leave the gas tax (perhaps lower it if necessary) as a way of encouraging people to use less gas.

I am not sure which state it is but I think it is Washington or Oregon that has started a program where you place a GPS box in your car and pay yearly based upon the miles driven.

I am not one who thinks the government does a good job with taxpayer dollars but I do feel the roads need to be taken care of. As it is the higher mileage cars are wearing the roads out faster than the gas taxes those vehicles are paying are refilling the repair coffers so something needs to be done. As I have been reading these forums it is very obvious that many drivers want to go fast. Try doing that on a pothole filled road.

@Theresa, it's not Washington. Oregon I believe is thinking about a program like you describe but it isn't a law yet, just an idea.

The point to consider from the OP, however, is that McDonnell proposes eliminating the state gas sales tax and increasing the state general sales tax. Along with this is the annual $100 EV fee. I think it's fair that EV's pay a fee to bear some of the financial burden of road use, but this plan, IMO, is ridiculous as it singles out alternative fuel vehicles over the general driving population. Smacks of big oil lobbying to me.

hfcolvin: it singles out alternative fuel vehicles over the general driving population.

Exactly. Why not just charge all cars the $100 fee?


Don't they WANT to encourage less gasoline use? By singling out EV's for the fee, they are going the wrong direction in getting cleaner air. (which of course makes it look like Big Oil is behind this)

The Virginia proposal stimulates the use of fossil fuel vehicles. So go and buy the biggest badass SUV, preferably used, costs less, burns more... No - really buy an 18-wheeler to commute to work.

A 4,000 pound vehicle is a 4,000 vehicle - all of them inflict the same damage to roads, so all of them should pay for the upkeep, not only the EVs.

However, a 8,000 pound pickup truck is 2 times the 4,000 pound vehicle. It also inflicts 2 (or more) times the damage to the roads. Why should it be exempt from the upkeep?

At the Get Amped events, the TM co-pilots told the drivers to aim for the potholes, to show off the air suspension. So you should hope for more potholes, as it will drive the other traffic off the roads, and leave them for the Model S!!


No input KevinR?

Poor nnt is trying to start this conversation but everyone keeps shutting the door on him.

I don't have any either. I believe that all users should pay for use though. How to implement that is the question.

I like the idea of keeping the gas tax and giving EV users a break in the short term to drive the market away from gas use. Is it fair? Not exactly. But as my pops used to remind me, life isn't fair.

@goneskiian-- I'm actually for increasing gas taxes to drive the ICE users to hyrbids. That starts the slippery slope to EVs. I think we should pay a road use tax (as stated in the thread above by others). The added benefit for a road use tax is it might garner support from politicians/communities as a revenue source rather than a cost.

It's absolutely amazing to me that the state legislatures are deciding they need to tax EV's when there are so few EV's on the roads today compared to ICE's.

Do they really think EV's are going to take over so quickly that they will become paupers due to missing gas tax revenues?

And, Why $100 per year? Why not $1000?


Tiebreaker, most pickups weigh less than a Model S. My fully loaded 2010 Ford F150 Platinum is 4,285 pounds, less than my Model S.

If we want to use the roads we have to pay our share. Anyone who can afford a Tesla can afford to pay a road tax. Notwithstanding the BS about giving incentives, environmental benefits etc., these are heavy, high-torque toys. Roads are not paid for by general revenues - they are funded by road taxes (directly for truckers and fuel-based for everyone else).

Virginia isn't singling out EV's - it is just saying that since it collects road taxes via fuel sales, and EV's don't buy fuel, it needs an alternative. Perfectly reasonable. And the amount is diminimus.

I'm ok with $100 (probably less road use taxes than an ICE driver) -- $1000? not so much.

Pungo, that would be fair if the VA governor was proposing to keep the gas tax, instead, he proposes to ditch the gas tax, raise the sales tax (which impacts EV drivers equally), AND tax EVs. So that's not fair.

Somebody is getting a little frustrated!

Post was deleted...but you know who!

@riceguy +1


But: de minimis

In Oregon we pay a 30 cent per gallon tax for gas. If a car gets 30mpg then they essentially pay 1 cent per mile. But Oregon law makers are proposing EV owners pay as much as 10 cents per mile, 10x more than an ICE driver. So, if you drive 12,000 miles that is 1,200 dollars while an ICE driver would only pay 120 dollars for the same miles. I'm all for paying my share, but I'd like my share to be fair compared to other drivers.

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