Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WA's $100 EV Tax

Being one of the first to get a LEAF in the State of Washington has been a great honor for me.  I got my picture in the local paper and have had the benefit of 23+ months of super cool electric driving!

But another benefit is that my registration renewal date of Jan 18th will be just days before WA State institutes a $100 license fee for specific electric vehicles for road use fees since the normal collection method of the gasoline tax does not work for EVs.  Now,  Extended range electrics like the Chevy Volt will be excluded along with NEV's.  Now, I am all for paying my fair share to help maintain the roads but this law is not fair.

I know a few Chevy Volt drivers lucky enough to have charging available at both home and work and rarely ever buy gas who will be paying less than their fair share.

I also know LEAF owners who work at home, live centrally and shop locally who drive much less than the average, who would be paying more than their fair share. So a flat rate does not work on several levels.

I think EV'ers should be taxed based on mileage driven.  Some proponents of this idea discount this option because they feel that GPS should be installed to properly monitor the mileage driven. I think that  a mileage statement at the time of renewal every year is more than sufficient.  I have lived in other states who used mileage as a basis and that is how mileage was reported there and I think it will work just fine here.

In any system where the end user has to report a figure, there is always a possibility of fraud but that fraud can be a tough one to get away with when odometer readings must be reported at the time of sale so any discrepancy would be caught at that time meaning that the seller will have some use taxes due when the sale is made.

Now, that will work for pure EV drivers. As far as the Volt drivers? well,  baby steps...they did pay sales tax on their purchase so its not like they got off scott free.


  1. Better yet, remove the tax on the gasoline all together and roll the cost into vehicle registration and a bump to license commercial vehicles. Just my 2 cents and I'm sure we're going to see something similar here in the coming months.

  2. Tom; that wont work. WA had a "value" tax that was applied to registration fees where you were taxed on the estimated worth of the vehicle which added as much as $1000 a year to tab fees. That law was changed by write in campaign about 10-15 years ago.

    As it stands, our 3 top transportation revenue sources are gas tax, bridge tolls and ferry tolls. As high as our gas tax is, it should be raised. Right now, we are paying nearly a buck less than we did all year. There should be a mechanism in place that would automatically add taxes when gas prices dropped below a certain point that would automatically be removed when gas prices go up. Not that I am happy to, but I would be willing to pay a basement price of $3.50 a gallon instead of the $3.25 that gas is going for now.