How Responsible Are EVs for Maintaining Our Automotive Infrastructure?
With electric-vehicle owners eligible for sizable tax breaks, and ineligible for federal fuel taxes, it often feels like they’re not pulling their weight when it comes to maintaining this great nation’s transportation infrastructure. However, feelings are sometimes wrong — when it feels like an Arby’s night, for example.
There are actually 26 states that presently impose fees upon EV owners and, according to Consumer Reports, 11 charge more than the amount drivers of similar, gas-powered cars pay in gas taxes, with 3 charging more than twice the average amount. Another dozen states are considering adding fees, with CR’s own research stipulating that 10 would require electrics to pay more than they would if they were powered by gasoline.
Done evenhandedly, that sounds relatively fair to us. But the consumer advocacy outlet suggested this could discourage future growth of the technology. “People should be allowed to choose a vehicle that’s safe, reliable, and better for the environment without being punished,” Shannon Baker-Branstetter, manager of cars and energy policy at Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
She claimed that taxing EVs wouldn’t improve state road spending shortfalls (because they aren’t purchased in great numbers) and would be unfair to the average family trying to save money on gas by buying an EV.
We’re not going to get heavy into the logistics, but the environmental impact of electric cars relies heavily on what you buy, how long you keep the vehicle, where you charge it, how much driving you do, and what happens to the car once it’s no longer useful. Anyone who tells you differently, is trying to sell you something — probably an EV. But that doesn’t mean those vehicles can’t be an ecological blessing. A smart shopper, who also lives in a region that sources a lot of renewable energy, can probably brag about their carbon footprint without being a gigantic hypocrite. They would not be much fun at parties, though.
From Consumer Reports:
For the analysis, CR compared existing and proposed EV fees with how much in gasoline sales tax the average driver pays over a year in each of the states. In most states that have them, EV fees are paid annually by the vehicle owners.
In Missouri, there’s a proposal to increase the existing EV fee to three times what the owner of a gas-powered car would pay next year in the state, and the fee would increase to four times the amount by 2025, according to CR’s analysis.
Missouri’s proposed EV fee was set with the help of state senate research staff and experts at the state transportation department, says Senator Gary Romine, who was the main sponsor of the legislation. Most transportation funding in Missouri comes from a consumption tax on gasoline, says Romine, who serves as vice chairman of the state Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.
Missouri’s plan is probably the most aggressive example. In fact, several states have recently tapped down the fees after receiving blowback from citizens and various advocacy groups. But what happens as EVs become more popular? Surely, it’s not fair to have gas-burners shouldering the burden of keeping America’s roads pothole free less riddled with giant craters by themselves.
Vermont seems to have an answer. After proposing a plan that would have mandated annual fees on electric cars, the state’s Agency of Transportation became worried that the move would discourage early adopters — something it says would conflict with the state’s longterm climate and energy goals. The revised plan is to wait until electrics make up 15 percent of the state’s total vehicle registrations before taxing them. Vermont has also been finalizing a plan to further increase EV incentives for households that make less than $92,000 annually. It’s supposed to launch next year.
The CR study cites numerous examples that showcase the different approaches states are taking to tax (or not tax) electric cars. It also offers counterpoints to a lot of rebuttals you probably have at the ready as to why EVs should be taxed — the perception that they’re primarily bought by wealthy costal folks, for instance.
It’s worth a read if you have any interest in the subject. But it does fall heavy on the side of not taxing electrics. Regardless, we’re curious to hear your takes.
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"She claimed that taxing EVs wouldn’t improve state road spending shortfalls (because they aren’t purchased in great numbers) and would be unfair to the average family trying to save money on gas by buying an EV." I agree, the numbers simply are not there and will never be there short of Agenda 2030 type diktats or an extreme energy crisis (in the case of the latter, there would be so many societal problems EV supply will be the lowest concern). Here's what this is, it is an issue they keep pushing for backdoor tracking and income confiscation of your movements, EV or not, oh and no its not as if any branch of government will rescind the current excise taxes on gasoline in its place. (incidentally if you search on "federal gas tax reason", you will see nothing but media advocating for yet another increase). Here's a sneak peak: "The Road Usage Charge (RUC) pilot project underway in 2018 will provide useful insights into the practicality and fairness of a mileage-based fee replacement for the state gas tax. The pilot project will help us understand how a mileage-based road usage charge would work for different drivers in different parts of the state, and whether a charge such as this is a good way to pay for our transportation system needs in the future." ..as if any tax was "fair", ever... https://www.wtp2040andbeyond.com/the-future-of-funding The Federal gas tax came into being as part of a larger taxation act in 1932, it had nothing to do with infrastructure. According to Forbes only in 1957 were revenues put toward highways, so for 25 years it was simply pure graft on the part of Fedgov before it was "put to work for you". "Beginning in 1957, gas tax revenues were funneled directly into the federal Highway Trust Fund" https://www.forbes.com/sites/taxanalysts/2013/10/24/the-gas-tax-doesnt-work-because-politicians-broke-it/#55ec5ae96bf1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenue_Act_of_1932 In fact, of the current funds allocated from the current Federal tax, 40% are completely misappropriated into "earmarked programs". Wow, so if we didn't squander 40-fracking-percent on bullsh!t we could have up to 40% MOAR to invest in "highways" WITHOUT any change? I'm pragmatic, I can accept 10% of anything those bozos do to be lost in corruption, fraud, embezzlement, waste, overruns, and general incompetence. Forty is simply too much to handle. "Then-Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters stated on August 15, 2007, that about 60% of federal gas taxes are used for highway and bridge construction. The remaining 40% goes to earmarked programs. However, revenues from other taxes are also used in federal transportation programs." If we break things down to the state level, it appears the People's Republic of Kalifornia's latest fuel tax venture will be diverting roughly 30% of the projected take into... non-road projects *gasp* . Politifact goes on to point out although this is true, it was authorized in the "transportation bill" and is not being "diverted", however according to the Sac Bee since $3.84 Billion was expected to be raised um yeah it kinda is a gas tax increase and unless somehow that 30% was coming out of some other revenue source yeah money is being diverted. But universities such as UC really need that $14 million for... something... as cited by Sac Bee and let's not forget the $100 million for "sustainable communities planning grants to local governments". Maybe that's a code word for plug the local pension shortfalls? Not sure, but as we have seen, a sizeable percentage of existing revenues is stolen for other often political purposes, yet the proles meander along. So now its the haves vs have nots, EV's don't pay gruff gruff, tax, gruff gruff. Not, wow this is really f**ked up we should work on this together as citizens, its I'm a 'murican and I roll coal in my pickup and hate those Tesla freaks, and I love the environment with my Tesla and death to the diesel hicks. Divide and conquer as always. "The gas tax increase is part of a larger transportation funding legislation signed by Brown in April 2017. In common speech, some politicians simply call this "the gas tax."" "Our ruling California state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez recently claimed Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget is "diverting 30 percent of funding from the gas tax to non-road related projects like building parks and job training for felons." There’s some truth to her claim: The governor’s May budget shows about 30 percent of the revenue from this transportation measure goes to categories that won’t directly improve roads for cars and trucks, as dictated by the law Brown signed in April. Most of that 30 percent goes to bicycle, transit and rail projects. Melendez, however, cherry-picked two programs -- parks and workforce training -- that represent less than 3 percent of the overall funding. Melendez’s statement also ignores the fact that roads will see an increased share of the overall funding in future years. Additionally, it’s misleading and simply not accurate for Melendez to say this money is being ‘diverted’ when Brown’s budget proposes to spend the money exactly as outlined in the bill he signed and the Legislature passed a month earlier. There should be no surprise, at this point, that the measure required funding for transit programs, railways and bicycle and pedestrian paths. The smaller spending on parks, universities and workforce development may raise eyebrows, but was also authorized by SB 1." California state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez recently claimed Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget is "diverting 30 percent of funding from the gas tax to non-road related projects like building parks and job training for felons." There’s some truth to her claim: The governor’s May budget shows about 30 percent of the revenue from this transportation measure goes to categories that won’t directly improve roads for cars and trucks, as dictated by the law Brown signed in April. Most of that 30 percent goes to bicycle, transit and rail projects. Melendez, however, cherry-picked two programs -- parks and workforce training -- that represent less than 3 percent of the overall funding. Melendez’s statement also ignores the fact that roads will see an increased share of the overall funding in future years." https://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2017/may/19/melissa-melendez/jerry-brown-proposing-divert-30-percent-new-gas-ta/ "Gas taxes Existing: The base excise tax is 18 cents a gallon. A price-based excise tax is currently set at 9.8 cents a gallon, for a total rate of 27.8 cents a gallon. Nov. 1, 2017: The base excise tax will increase to 30 cents a gallon. July 1, 2019: The price-based excise tax will reset to 17.3 cents a gallon, about half-a-cent more than the rate the Brown administration projects will be in effect by then anyway. The 47.3-cent combined excise tax in effect July 1, 2019 will be adjusted for inflation beginning July 1, 2020. Average annual revenue: $2.4 billion Diesel taxes Existing: The base excise tax is 16 cents a gallon. The state also collects two categories of sales taxes on diesel fuel: the regular state and local sales tax, which averages 8.44 percent, and an additional 1.75 percent sales tax. Nov. 1, 2017: Base diesel fuel excise tax will increase to 36 cents a gallon. The 36-cent excise tax will be adjusted for inflation beginning July 1, 2020. Nov. 1, 2017: The 1.75 percent diesel fuel sales tax will increase to 5.75 percent. Estimated annual revenue: $1.08 billion" "WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO? Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program – $3.24 billion a year on average: Off the top, the program allocates several hundred million dollars to various endeavors: ▪ $400 million to maintain and repair state bridges and culverts ▪ $200 million for Sacramento and 23 other counties with local transportation taxes ▪ $100 million to increase the number of trips by bike and on foot ▪ $25 million for the freeway service patrol program ▪ $25 million for sustainable communities planning grants to local governments ▪ $7 million total for transportation-related research and education at UC ($5 million) and CSU ($2 million) ▪ $5 million in workforce development grants to local agencies" https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article147437054.html
I don't think I will be buying an EV anytime soon especially if my state decides to tax it higher than my ICE vehicle.