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Washington Imposes $100 Tax on EV Owners

Sections: Fuel Economy

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EV owners in Washington state are going to be paying $100 extra on their car registration. The state figures the fee will help offset the EV owners’ avoidance of fuel taxes used in the upkeep of highways. (Wmi_photography photo courtesy http://www.stockfreeimages.com/.)

Electric Vehicle (EV) owners in Washington state will soon have to pay a $100 tax other motorists don’t have to pay.

According to HybridCars, the tax levy is intended to partially make up for the fuel taxes EV owners don’t pay since, obviously, their cars don’t require gasoline or diesel to drive down the road. The $100 tax will be a yearly fee payable when the car’s registration comes due. It covers only vehicles that are powered solely by electricity and can reach speeds in excess of 35 mph.

The $100 add-on to registration fees isn’t huge compared to the fuel taxes an average motorist in the state might pay. When combined with the federal gas tax, Washington residents pay 55.9 cents per gallon in taxes. Anyone who would otherwise buy 180 gallons of gas or more in a given year will actually pay less in taxes than they would on fuel for a conventional combustion engine-powered car.

A source quoted by HybridCars did point out, however, the interesting contradiction in Washington state tax policy: While this fee is being imposed on drivers of EVs as a way to take into account the EVs’ impact on the road, EVs are also incentivized in state tax credits for those who buy new ones. Electric car purchases in the state are exempt from the state’s sales tax.

HybridCars also noted that a subsection of the bill that introduced the extra registration fee on EVs is to be used for “evaluating the feasibility of transitioning from a revenue collection system based on fuel taxes to a road user assessment system …” which would perhaps indicate that the state is interested in moving toward a future car taxing scheme based on total miles driven, vehicle size, or some other as-yet unknown factor.

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