Washington State Pushes Electric Cars, Then Taxes Owners

Washington State has found a way to make up for revenue lost from owners of electric cars: everyone who took advantage of the thousands of dollars in federal and state incentives to purchase a gas-free vehicle will now be charged a $100 annual fee.

The new tax will take effect February 1, 2013; lawmakers claim the electric car owners are avoiding paying the taxes for roadway usage because such taxes are included in the price of gasoline. The state of Washington includes a 37.5 cents per gallon tax on gasoline, the state’s largest source of transportation dollars.

Road and highway improvements are primarily funded through taxes at the pump, and Washington State lawmakers are demanding electric car owners compensate the state for the loss in tax revenue. The $100 “fee” will be required to be paid upon annual vehicle registration renewal. This tax will be in addition to the standard vehicle registration fees already charged.

The new tax is included in Washington State House Bill 2660; the bill’s sponsors and supporters say the electric cars put the same wear and tear on roads as gasoline powered vehicles, but electric car owners are not paying their fair share to upkeep the roads they use.

At present, the tax only applies to all-electric vehicles and not to hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicles use some fuel and therefore contribute to the upkeep and improvements of the state, lawmakers say.

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