Thursday, February 10, 2011

Washington State: Electric Cars Must Pay Gas Tax

Seattle WA, Feb 10, 2011. The Washington State Senate is about to adopt a new tax that would require an annual registration fee of $100 on electric vehicles.

This new tax would be in addition to other registration and licensing fees currently assessed on all highway vehicles, and the tax could be raised as needed in the future.

They say they need this new tax because electric cars don't use gasoline, so gas tax revenues are down. It seems that the Washington State Senate is concerned about losing revenue from state gas taxes from plug-in vehicles.

The irony of this is that drivers were encouraged to buy electric vehicles in order to save money on gas and help save the planet from global warming. But if enough people do this, then the gas tax revenue will drop drastically, so a new tax will be needed to replace that lost revenue.

Proponents of the new tax say they need the money to help maintain the highways. They tell us that electric car owners aren't paying their fair share, since they currently aren't paying gas taxes, and those taxes are used for highway and road maintenance.

But Washington State currently has one of the highest gas taxes in the nation, thirty seven cents a gallon. And most of the money raised by this tax isn't being used for highway maintenance right now. Most gets confiscated by the Sate and applied to the general budget, and not for the intended purpose.

This is what happens when government becomes addicted to taxes, and uses high taxes on specific things to change your behavior.

If they succeed in changing your behavior, then their revenue falls, and they must either cut spending or invent some other tax to recover the money. And very few politicians today want to cut any spending.

The very same process could apply to cigarette taxes too. And, Washington State has one of the highest cigarette taxes in the nation... a little over $3 per pack.

When they hike the cigarette tax high enough, then some people might quit smoking. And then they will need to replace the lost tax revenue by taxing them for not smoking. Which is precisely what they are doing when they charge owner of electric cars a "make up" tax to replace the gas taxes lost.

This is just one of many schemes planned o bring in more tax revenue. Washington State has also been toying with the idea to charge vehicle taxes based on "miles driven" like some European nations do.

What kind of electric vehicle is included under this policy? Under this policy, only "vehicles that use propulsion units powered solely by electricity" are charged $100. So, that means that owners of a 2011 Chevy Volt won't have to pay this fee, but owners of the 2011 Nissan Leaf will.

This seems unfair, considering that plug-in hybrid owners can do most of their driving in all-electric mode, but will still be exempt from this fee. Of course, it also might be due to the fact that GM is one of President Barack Husein Obama's, D-Kenya, corporate sponsors, and Nissan isn't.

In the near future, it appears that the owners of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) will be the ones mostly affected by this bill.

This is unfortunate, considering that most NEVs drive far less and are lighter in weight than conventional petroleum vehicles, meaning that their impact on Washington's roads is rather minimal.

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