For The Tax Man, No One Rides For Free
Tax day has come and gone, and not every American likes paying. Interestingly enough some claim that drivers of electric vehicles( EVs) are skipping out on taxes – specifically gasoline taxes that pay for highways, road construction, and maintenance.
America’s infrastructure is in poor shape. America’s roads are riddled with potholes and many bridges are in need of repair. Much of the money used to conduct the repairs comes from the gasoline tax fund. The tax averages 47 cents a gallon for gas nationwide.
The Congressional Budget Office has warned the federal highway fund could be bankrupt as early as fiscal year 2013 as the gas tax has became less effective. As gas prices increase people stop driving and look to other forms of transportation. This means less money generated from the gas tax. Additionally, newer cars can travel greater distances between fill ups, again less gas tax money generated. Let’s not forget EVs — they use no gas at all.
In America no one escapes the tax man, this June the great state of Washington will become the first state to charge a fee on EVs. Arizona, Texas, and Oregon are also considering a fee to offset the skipped gas tax.
Washington State Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, a Democrat (WHAT!?) has been the leading voice on the legislation. The idea is that a $100 annual fee will be placed on EV owners. Hybrid drivers will not be charged a fee because they run in on gas. GM has come out against the legislation because they claim it would act as a deterrent to buy EVs. Washington charges 37.5 cents a gallon in fuel taxes.
Other options are out there. A so called vehicle miles traveled (VMT) system has been discussed. VMT is essentially a per mile fee, Arizona State Representative Steve Farley, another Democrat, proposed the fee be set at 1.43 cents per mile. Arizona in January repealed an emissions program that incentivized more alternative fuel vehicle use after just one year.
Is this sensible growth? Is this an example of America planning for the future and making plans for a changing automotive world one in which the EV will dominate? — Or is this something else? — Is this the demonization of new clean technology? Is this just another example of how America and American politics and tax structure cannot step into the 21st century? Sound off in the comments below.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison