Washington State Passes $100 EV Tax


In what could be a preview of the future, Washington has become the first U.S. state to impose an annual tax on EV drivers to make up for lost tax revenue. This is because electric vehicles don’t need gas, which is taxed to to provide for road repairs and infrastructure improvements. This move has some environmentalists up in arms, but it might not matter in the long run anyways.

First off, the fee imposed is small; just $100 a year. Gas taxes vary from state to state; Washington has one of the highest gas taxes at 37.5-cents per gallon. Add on to that another 18.4-cents per gallon for the Feds, and you get 54.9-cents per gallon in taxes that EV owners don’t have to pay.

While the number of EV owners right now is negligible, more fuel-efficient cars are becoming the norm even as the Federal gas tax hasn’t been raised in almost 20 years. The $100 tax in Washington will raise about $1.9 million, and EV owners are still only paying about half what the average resident pays in taxes.

Some environmentalists are upset that EV owners are being taxed, but the system for taxing cars based on gasoline consumption is nearing the end of its usefulness anyways. Cars have never been as efficient as they are now, and the increasing use of electrification means that some drivers could go months without putting any gas in their cars.

Most likely all future cars will move to a tax-per-mile-traveled system, an idea that is already being floated in places like the Netherlands. And while I may be for tax credits and/or rebates for EV buyers, I also think they should still have to pay their fair share in taxes. This is money that goes to Washington state for the repair of state roads that EV owners are using, same as everybody else. With so many state budgets falling short, EV owners should not be given a free pass.

Source: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Image: Jeff Hollis via Shutterstock

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • My Volt gets 100 miles per dollar so that $100 can move my Volt 10,000 miles. At least I’m saving a few grand in fuel each year…. $3,000 to be exact…


    • nikki

      How much did that car cost you? How many years to pay that 3k a year? How much is your monthly payment?

      • Bob

        Add insurance and excise tax to that, too. The Volt is the Edsel of our times, and without a bailout on the backs of American taxpayers, it would already be history.

  • Turbofroggy

    Weak Washington State, put the damper on EV adoption just as it is getting started with production EVs. How about putting a trigger like 300,000 registered EVs then it starts? How about finding some other budgets to cut that don’t make sense, like art grants for the dump or bike paths that use up freeway right-of-ways? How about raising the gas tax $0.01 and use that money to offset EVs and pay for charging station installation, maintenance and electricity? So freakin short sighted, tiny $ gained overall.

    • T Adkins

      You would most likely, in the long run, still save alot of money in the EV over the gas car, if $100 dollars a year will convince you not to buy an EV then that is sad. It works out to less than 28 cents a day. If a guy driving on gas burns a gallon a day he pays 54.9 cents. A 1 cent gas tax hike would be foolish, gaining 2.7% more in taxes from a system that is losing ground is short sighted. The more we raise the gas tax the more people want better cars and then want EVs.

      Yes EVs do weigh less and thus put less wear on the road that is why they are being legislated to pay less than the gas guy. EV adoption will begin to pay for charging stations they wont be free to get power, it will make money just like a gas station, it might even make drive up dinning places come back, like pulling into a Sonic and getting food for you and feeding your EV.

      Roads in the US are already falling apart, gas tax does pay for that but as we move to more efficient gas cars and to EVs that is less and less money paying into or under funded roads.

      A few years ago people were stuck in traffic on a bridge that spans a river, poor maintenance from a lack of funds and well that bridge fell into that river and people needlessly died. This bridge was on the I-35W in Minnesota it spanned the Mississippi, 8 lanes wide luckily only 13 deaths and 145 injuries those numbers are low, 140,000 cars crossed it daily making it the 5th busiest bridge in the Twin Cities area.

      How many other bridges out there are in need of repair, and waiting to collapse. Will 28 cents a day help pay to fix the issue probably not but it is something, we cant just drive on roads for free they have to be maintained or we end up with no real roads, maybe it is for the better we dont have roads then we can just all ride the train. Lets fund trains f*ck cars and f*ck roads.

      And I am all for a gas tax, the Federal gas tax should be raised to $1 or by 81.6 cents over the next 3 to 5 years, that will change the way we drive, and oddly make it so we deal with oil price increases more smoothly and it pays for roads and then we get better cars and more EVs.

  • Jerry

    Just seems weird to have two different taxation systems This vehicle over here gets taxed based upon being a gas guzzler but weights less and damages the road less that this car over hear that weighs more, but has both a gasoline and electric motor inside of it, but hardly ever uses the gasoline engine, so really, no tax and then this light car over here has only an electric motor, hardly gets used since it has small range, but it gets taxed more than the big ol’ hybrid?

  • Eletruk

    Hang on a second. So far only the State Senate has passed the law. It still has to go through the House, and then get signed by the Governor.
    So the headline is wrong. The State has not passed the law, just the Senate.

    • T Adkins

      Why would they not pass it?

      It generates tax revenue to maintain roads.
      Without a tax or even the dreaded tax per mile option, if we all woke up and switched to EV’s how would we pay for the roads without a tax or a toll?

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  • I hate to admit it, but the VMT tax is the only sane solution. No matter how you slice and dice it, the more you drive, the more you wear the roadways. There are just too many people who drive too many needless miles. I myself drive a zippy little scooter, when weather permits, to save as much as I can on gas.

    • I actually agree with this. I use the same argument against the “share the road” d-bags.

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  • We have cheap people in Virginia…..see what these cheap owners did….they don’t want to pay for roads..

    More then 6,800 sign petition against alternate-fuel vehicle tax

    Proposed fee on hybrid vehicles that’s part of roads-fix package draws ir