Gas taxes replaced by EV taxes -- a new paradigm?

Gas taxes replaced by EV taxes -- a new paradigm?

A quote from this article, which also covers this trend across the US for replacing lost revenue from gas taxes:

The new year is only two weeks old, but we already have a candidate for one of the strangest public policy proposals of 2013. Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell has proposed eliminating the state’s 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax, increasing the state’s sales tax to 5.8 percent from 5 percent, and levying a new $100 annual charge on vehicles that run on alternative fuels. Meanwhile, in Washington State, electric vehicle owners are subject to a new law that requires them to pay a $100 annual registration fee. It seems somewhat perverse. [...] But these moves also highlight a new reality.

Also relates to Oregon thread:

dtesla | 17 January 2013

As a Virginia resident I believe we, in general, need to know how much things cost. So if the gas tax is not covering highway construction/repair expenses, then raise the tax to cover the expense. This allows drivers to evaluate the true cost of driving there car.

This also goes for EV's. Ideally I would tax power consumed to charge EV by requiring a separate meter. But meters are expensive and impractical, so it is reasonable for EV cars to pay an annual fee.

What McDonnell has proposed is insane. Drop the tax for ICE but add it to EV. I say tax both or neither.

dtesla | 17 January 2013

To e-mail the VA Governor about your opinion on this subject go to

noel.smyth | 17 January 2013

these new laws indicate that the oil lobby is getting nervous about the threat from the EV. its a good sign on one hand - validating that the threat is real, but it is somewhat perverse to see our government representative working against clean energy. IMHO

BYT | 17 January 2013

Boooo! Hisssssss!

kevjo | 17 January 2013

A 4000 pound car is a 4000 pound car. It doesn't matter if it runs on gas or electricity it still has the same detrimental effect on the roadway. A flat fee is stupid, you punish the people who don't drive much and you subsidize the people who drive a lot. Electric cars should pay their fair share of maintaining the roads but it should be based on mileage. This is easy to do, each year when you renew your registration you pay x per 100 or 1000 miles. Every five years you have the mileage checked by the dmv.

BYT | 17 January 2013

I can argue that my lungs are getting abused by all the burned fossil fuel in the are and choke from the smell and annoyed by the noise. Leave the EV owners alone for a little while, we are talking a very minuscule market share!!! I'm sorry kevjo, I don't agree with your argument yet...YET!!!

BYT | 17 January 2013


Mel. | 17 January 2013

Kevjo, have you ever seen a car belching fumes and smoke? Do you really think that Tesla owners should pay for all that pollution?

weustis | 17 January 2013

kevjo is right. It's not a pollution tax, it's a highway use tax. All cars should play by the same rules. If you want to tax carbon, then definitely make it a gas tax and add a charge to my power bill for the pollution associated with my power consumption. That seems fair to me.

Candy J. Lee | 17 January 2013

I am good with it as long as the EV tax does not exceed what hybrid ICE owners pay. For example, a Volt owner will probably pay less in gas tax than the EV road tax for us purists, and they still pollute. There ought to be a minimum or a mileage kind of thing for highway maintenance.

Sudre_ | 17 January 2013

Actually the Volt gets the EV federal tax break so they should also get the state's EV fee too.

Considering most drivers probably pay $40-$80 in gas taxes I think the $100 for EVs is a little high. They should double the gas tax and institute the EV fee.

I think the states are doing this now because they see 5 years down the road too many people will own BEVs and they will not let them pass these laws. With a small number of BEV owners the politicians will not loss enough votes to care. It probably has little to do with big oil.

jat | 17 January 2013

There are two issues to consider -- one is fairly allocating the cost of maintenance of roads for those using them, and the second is using public policy to alter behavior. The gas tax is assumed to be reasonably fair since if you are using more gas, you are likely driving more miles. It also serves to encourage you to use a more efficient vehicle. EV owners aren't paying for that currently, and I agree that is a problem long-term. In the short term, it is probably better to use that as a way of shifting behavior than to try and penalize it.

Eventually, when everyone is driving an EV, you have to have some way to pay for roads. Trucks already pay based on mileage and number of axles, presuming that is a good proxy for how much wear they put on the roads. I suggest doing the same for vehicles -- when you register your car, you provide the odometer reading and you pay a cost per mile then. Leave the gas tax (perhaps lower it if necessary) as a way of encouraging people to use less gas.

Theresa | 18 January 2013

I am not sure which state it is but I think it is Washington or Oregon that has started a program where you place a GPS box in your car and pay yearly based upon the miles driven.

I am not one who thinks the government does a good job with taxpayer dollars but I do feel the roads need to be taken care of. As it is the higher mileage cars are wearing the roads out faster than the gas taxes those vehicles are paying are refilling the repair coffers so something needs to be done. As I have been reading these forums it is very obvious that many drivers want to go fast. Try doing that on a pothole filled road.

Salman | 18 January 2013

@Theresa, it's not Washington. Oregon I believe is thinking about a program like you describe but it isn't a law yet, just an idea.

hfcolvin | 18 January 2013

The point to consider from the OP, however, is that McDonnell proposes eliminating the state gas sales tax and increasing the state general sales tax. Along with this is the annual $100 EV fee. I think it's fair that EV's pay a fee to bear some of the financial burden of road use, but this plan, IMO, is ridiculous as it singles out alternative fuel vehicles over the general driving population. Smacks of big oil lobbying to me.

holidayday | 18 January 2013

hfcolvin: it singles out alternative fuel vehicles over the general driving population.

Exactly. Why not just charge all cars the $100 fee?


Don't they WANT to encourage less gasoline use? By singling out EV's for the fee, they are going the wrong direction in getting cleaner air. (which of course makes it look like Big Oil is behind this)

Tiebreaker | 18 January 2013

The Virginia proposal stimulates the use of fossil fuel vehicles. So go and buy the biggest badass SUV, preferably used, costs less, burns more... No - really buy an 18-wheeler to commute to work.

A 4,000 pound vehicle is a 4,000 vehicle - all of them inflict the same damage to roads, so all of them should pay for the upkeep, not only the EVs.

However, a 8,000 pound pickup truck is 2 times the 4,000 pound vehicle. It also inflicts 2 (or more) times the damage to the roads. Why should it be exempt from the upkeep?

Brian H | 18 January 2013

At the Get Amped events, the TM co-pilots told the drivers to aim for the potholes, to show off the air suspension. So you should hope for more potholes, as it will drive the other traffic off the roads, and leave them for the Model S!! | 6 March 2013


ian | 6 March 2013

No input KevinR?

Poor nnt is trying to start this conversation but everyone keeps shutting the door on him.

I don't have any either. I believe that all users should pay for use though. How to implement that is the question.

I like the idea of keeping the gas tax and giving EV users a break in the short term to drive the market away from gas use. Is it fair? Not exactly. But as my pops used to remind me, life isn't fair. | 6 March 2013

@goneskiian-- I'm actually for increasing gas taxes to drive the ICE users to hyrbids. That starts the slippery slope to EVs. I think we should pay a road use tax (as stated in the thread above by others). The added benefit for a road use tax is it might garner support from politicians/communities as a revenue source rather than a cost.

jd3tm | 6 March 2013

It's absolutely amazing to me that the state legislatures are deciding they need to tax EV's when there are so few EV's on the roads today compared to ICE's.

Do they really think EV's are going to take over so quickly that they will become paupers due to missing gas tax revenues?

And, Why $100 per year? Why not $1000?


Pungoteague_Dave | 6 March 2013

Tiebreaker, most pickups weigh less than a Model S. My fully loaded 2010 Ford F150 Platinum is 4,285 pounds, less than my Model S.

If we want to use the roads we have to pay our share. Anyone who can afford a Tesla can afford to pay a road tax. Notwithstanding the BS about giving incentives, environmental benefits etc., these are heavy, high-torque toys. Roads are not paid for by general revenues - they are funded by road taxes (directly for truckers and fuel-based for everyone else).

Virginia isn't singling out EV's - it is just saying that since it collects road taxes via fuel sales, and EV's don't buy fuel, it needs an alternative. Perfectly reasonable. And the amount is diminimus. | 6 March 2013

I'm ok with $100 (probably less road use taxes than an ICE driver) -- $1000? not so much.

riceuguy | 6 March 2013

Pungo, that would be fair if the VA governor was proposing to keep the gas tax, instead, he proposes to ditch the gas tax, raise the sales tax (which impacts EV drivers equally), AND tax EVs. So that's not fair.

jbherman | 6 March 2013

Somebody is getting a little frustrated!

jbherman | 6 March 2013

Post was deleted...but you know who! | 6 March 2013

@riceguy +1

Brian H | 6 March 2013


But: de minimis

N8Tyler | 6 March 2013

In Oregon we pay a 30 cent per gallon tax for gas. If a car gets 30mpg then they essentially pay 1 cent per mile. But Oregon law makers are proposing EV owners pay as much as 10 cents per mile, 10x more than an ICE driver. So, if you drive 12,000 miles that is 1,200 dollars while an ICE driver would only pay 120 dollars for the same miles. I'm all for paying my share, but I'd like my share to be fair compared to other drivers.

Pungoteague_Dave | 6 March 2013

Rice guy, that's incorrect. He is proposing eliminating the gas tax on per-gallon gasoline sales. He would then have the general sales tax apply also to gasoline sales and apply that and an overall sales tax increase to roads. So ICE cars are paying a tax we don't in order to pay their share of road costs, even after the gas tax is technically eliminated.

Salman | 6 March 2013

Moot point, right? I think I heard the VA governor's proposal is dead, or radically changed. Is it still alive?

hsadler | 6 March 2013

Problem with making it a sales tax is that if gas drops to $1 per gallon - your road funds dry up.
He is probably hedging the fact that gas price slowly goes up and with a 'sales tax' you never need to increase tax. Revenue goes up automatically. Politically safe.

Pungoteague_Dave | 6 March 2013

N8tyler, no one has proposed 10 cents per mile in Oregon. Lets not overstate. The maximum that has been discussed is 1.5 cents per mile for EV's and hybrids, less a credit for any gas tax actually paid (for hybrids). And that is still a blank in the legislation, subject to downward negotiation before passing. It may however, be the camel's nose under the tent...

I think a per mile tax system is overly intrusive and unmanageable, although that is how commercial trucks are taxed. I would much prefer an annual fee, although some would argue that is unfair to people who drive only 5,000 miles compared to those who drive 30,000. I would have no problem with a flat fee in the $100-$500 range, although, honestly, must admit that the value of roads to the individual is more than that.

Electron | 6 March 2013

The gas tax has always been a crude instrument for road funding. Variances in auto weights,
MPG, etc. means inconsistent taxation. I'd be in favor of some flat per vehicle fee offset by more
direct usage taxes. I.e. tolls. But if you are going to have an EV fee, abolish the gas tax entirely
and move to a flat fee as part of all vehicle registration + tolls.

(Hides under a rock).

jat | 6 March 2013

I think a per-mile system wouldn't be hard -- when you renew your tag, you give your odometer reading and the next year is based on how much you drove last year. Sure, you can cheat, but eventually you will get caught and if you make the punishment enough it won't be a problem.

Pungoteague_Dave | 6 March 2013

Hsadler, and the problem with per-gallon taxes is that due to more efficient vehicles, total gasoline gallonage sales volume is down, and so the taxes have been evaporating, even though the total amount that people pay for gasoline is way up.

The "correct" answer is to charge everyone for actual road use, proportionately, both ICE and EV alike. The problem is that some of the proposed solutions are very big-bother-like, including monitoring and reporting systems. Truckers already deal with this, but it would be a new life hassle for the rest of us. Unfortunately, the Model S is internet-connected and more ready to be watched than any other vehicle.

hsadler | 6 March 2013

Per mile may work, but...

I lived in Maryland (before Calif) and lived near the edge of D.C.
I worked in D.C. - drove there (more miles in D.C. than Md). Occasionally had to go to Virginia.
Over 90% of my miles were out of Md.
How would I pay my fair share of road taxes?

- This happens to be a big problem in that area - especially with state income taxes. Many people work in D.C. but pay no tax there.

jat | 6 March 2013

@hsadler - either you assume that it balances out from other people, or nearby states have a road fund sharing system.

ian | 6 March 2013

Yes nnt we are discussing exactly that in this thread. Would you like to add somrthing substantive or perhaps even an opinion of your own?

Electron | 6 March 2013

goneskiian, Please don't feed the invisible troll.

GeirT | 7 March 2013

Nick-that-is-not-Nick is back!


Paragraph 1 + 2 + 10. Why didn't you just cut and paste the entire article?

So darn sad! Go away troll!

ziggy | 7 March 2013

I love this entire debate. For years politicians in my state of California have raided the gas tax fund. They throw it into the general fund where they claim that is just too hard to track, what a hoot! The result is that very little of the money collected has gone to maintain roads.

So now they have this problem. Sacramento with all their cubicle dwellers crunching on numbers all day sees this coming, less and less revenue from the gas tax.

As they try to keep what they have and propose a completely different paradigm of collecting the same money they collect now the press is all over their ridiculous sounding invasive proposals.

It is one thing to get it at the pump but asking people to write a check goes in a different box in peoples mind and they start asking hard questions.

I guarantee that our politicians are working hard at finding a way to wrap it up in some other service such as the electric company.

This is all good in that we can have the debate in the open.

Musterion | 7 March 2013

I posted this a long time ago when it was actually recent news and always try to provide all original links so the source is clear (actually also tried the quote tag here but it didn't work). I noticed the NNT entity often posts plagiarized material as his own with no source info, an obvious choice to flag.

Brian H | 7 March 2013

quote, blockquote, cite, and several other tags don't work. You have to fake it with italics and spacing, etc.

ian | 7 March 2013

*something. Stupid iPad typing interface.

Longhorn92 | 7 March 2013

Just one thought on the per mile fee many are suggesting: I would think it would be a per lb-mile fee since heavier cars tear up the roads much more/quicker than lighter cars. So, a 6,000 lb vehicle would pay twice the per mile fee as a 3,000 lb vehicle. Obviously, the weight ratio could be adjusted or some tier system could be developed to simplify the calculation (instead of needing exact weight of every vehicle).

FLsportscarenth... | 7 March 2013

The whole issue is stupid - but there again most politicians are VERY stupid. While the VA governor is at it he should tax public transit, bicycles and fine carpools to further support polluters - what a dumb dumb!!!

Simple Solution: Not enough tax revenue, no problem... Pick the one that fits your political orientation Right/Left...

Slightly increase gas tax - encourages less oil consumption to enrich our enemies/encourages more conservation and cleaner transportation.

Make mileage tax unconstitutional - It is a 'big brother' type infringement on our privacy/discourages the adoption of EV's and difficult to administer.

Ban EV surcharges till 20% adoption rate - Will restrict the revenues of a already overreaching and invasive government/will help establish EVs as common and reduce carbon emissions.

Ban the purchase of non PHEV or BEV cars or any car built outside North America (45% or more foreign parts) by governments, public agencies and taxpayer funded contract activity - Supports american jobs and manufacturing of advanced products by american companies and cuts the operating costs of government fleets/really makes the US a leader in combating climate change

Pungoteague_Dave | 7 March 2013

FLsportscar... Fascist much? Thinking people think before speaking/writing. The internal inconsistencies in your post are breathtaking. and the language - lets see: "stupid dumb dumb ban ban" and then you decry invasive government.

Electron | 7 March 2013

PD -

Let's keep it civil. I don't see FLsportscar engaging in ad hominem.