New taxes make electric vehicle owners pay their share
(WIRED) — Electric vehicles use the same roads, the
same bridges and the same infrastructure as the rest of us. But because
they don’t burn gasoline, they’re immune from paying taxes at the pump
to fund that infrastructure. That’s going to change.
EV buyers have long
received a federal tax credit of $7,500, but with the passage of
Washington state’s House Bill 2660 last year, what one hand giveth, the
other taketh away.
Eager to recoup some of
the money lost to those opting for zero-emissions motoring, the state of
Washington is slapping people with a $100 annual tax for driving an
electric such as the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf and anything they’ve
cobbled together in their garage. However, plug-in hybrids such as the
Toyota Prius Plug-In and Chevrolet Volt, with its range-extending
engine, are exempt from the tax (so are neighborhood EVs that can’t
exceed 35 mph), mainly thanks to automaker lobbying.
Washington has one of the
highest state gas taxes in the country, raking in 37.5 cents per gallon
(New Jersey taxes are 14.5 cents/gallon, by comparison). That makes it
the state’s largest source of transportation revenue. The average fuel
economy for a passenger vehicle in the United States comes in at 24.6
miles per gallon, meaning the average Washingtonian traveling 12,000
miles a year will pay $182.93 in gas taxes over the course of year. So
an EV driver is still better off, but is it equitable?
Sort of, argue EV advocates. For more on this story…