Fee On Electric Cars In Wash. To Offset Unpaid Gas Tax

Mar 9, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Electric car owners in Washington state would pay a $100 fee under a measure headed to the governor's desk. The aim is to offset the gas taxes these drivers are not paying. The bill passed Thursday night in one of the final votes of this year's regular session of the Washington Legislature, as Tom Banse reports.

A majority of the Washington Legislature reasons that electric cars cause wear and tear on the roads just like other cars. So they should pay their fair share for road maintenance. Most of us chip in every time we fill up with heavily taxed gas. But drivers of fully electric cars like Nissan Leaf owner Dick Hauser of Olympia never stop at the pump.

Hauser: "I don't mind it much at all. It seems to me that $100 is a pretty reasonable surrogate for what we'd pay in gasoline tax."

Auto industry lobbyists argued unsuccessfully that the surcharge is premature. They said lawmakers should be creating incentives for electric vehicles - not disincentives - at this early development stage. The fee takes effect for E-V license renewals starting in October. In Oregon, Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber is talking up an alternative approach, a mileage-based tax on electric vehicles.

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