In some parts of the country, there is a very real and rational discussion about the role electric vehicles will play in transportation, especially when it comes to paying taxes. Without the need to buy gasoline, EVs avoid paying for taxes on the same roads they use. But a proposal by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell would eliminate the gas tax, while levying a $115 a year free on electric and plug-in hybrid drivers. Seriously?
Republican Governor McDonnell claims that the Virginia’s low gas tax of 17.5 cents per gallon, which hasn’t been raised since 1986, does not bring in enough revenue to cover the cost of maintaining the state’s infrastructure. But rather than ask for a higher gas tax, which is arguably the fairest tax of any kind, as how much you pay correlates directly with how much you drive, McDonnell wants to eliminate the gas tax entirely. He would offset this with a higher sales tax, going from 5% to 5.8%.
But what has EV advocates upset is the fact that while regular drivers no longer have to pay a gas tax, the 91,000 EV and hybrid vehicle drivers would be faced with a $100 annual fee, and a $15 registration fee. Diesel fuel will still be taxed at 17.5 cents a gallon to maintain revenue on commercial vehicles. Other states, including Washington, have passed similar fees on EVs and hybrids, but without exempting conventional car drivers from those same taxes.
This plan has been pegged not only as biased, but asinine as well. For one thing, the cost savings are unlikely to be passed on to consumers, as oil companies will simply jack up the price to increase profits. Also, this legislation treats EV and hybrid vehicle owners incredibly unfairly; if the sales tax increase is meant to replace the gas tax, than why would you need to levy a tax against EV or hybrid drivers? Do they not also pay sales tax? The average Virginia driver currently pays around $100 a year in gas taxes, so we don’t understand why EV and hybrid drivers are being singled out.
While you may not like to hear it, we’re also rather opposed to any legislation that artificially lowers the price of gasoline. Oil is a finite resource, and should be treated as such; lowering the price of gasoline only serves to encourage wastefulness. While you may not agree, the fact is that low gas taxes are a direct contributor to the woeful state of America’s infrastructure.
If Bob McDonnell really thinks the gas tax doesn’t bring in enough money (and it doesn’t) the simple solution is to raise the tax, which hasn’t been touched in almost three decades. Get with the times, Bob!
Source: Christian-Science Monitor