Road Use Tax

Road Use Tax

At some point the states and Federal Government will find a way to tax EV road usage.
Right now, EV users are avoiding gasoline taxes.
This is a hidden future cost for EV owners.
How do you think this will be implemented?
An additional registration fee would be simple.
I think the government will opt for a complex and intrusive tracking of miles driven by GPS or a similar system.
Something to consider in the total cost of ownership vs ICE vehicles.

wcalvin | 27/05/2013

I suspect some states will just add a $200 EV fee to the tabs renewal.

olanmills | 28/05/2013

If they do do it by mileage, it need not be that intrusive. Similar to the smog check, maybe you could just take your car to some station periodically to have the odometer read. It wouldn't be necessary to do it every year either.

TI Sailor | 28/05/2013

@ olanmills

I think mileage is the most fair criterion, but it's probably too labor and data intensive to ever pass into legislation. It's sooo much easier to add a hefty tax, oops "fee", onto tag renewals.

This topic begs the question: Do cars cause enough road wear to justify current gasoline-derived taxes, or is the vast majority of wear caused by 18-wheel big rigs, dump trucks, etc? I seem to remember reading somewhere our roads would last 50-100 years if not for those heavy trucks. While I suspect summer heat and winter conditions might make that assertion overly optimistic, does anyone in this forum have real-world data to support or refute?

olanmills | 28/05/2013

Big trucks use more gas, so they're paying their share in that sense, in addition to additional permits and licenses and stuff they have to pay for.

And personally, I really like being able to drive 15 minutes away to go to get some home supplies at Target, then another 15 minutes to Best Buy to buy a game, and then swing by Taco Bell on the way home, and then find a new book that I ordered from Amazon in my mailbox. I would like to thank the truck drivers and the big truck makers for the part they played in all of that. :)

TikiMan | 28/05/2013

Whoever came up with the idea of maintaining roads via a 'use tax' was an idiot! EVERYONE uses the roads, regardless if you drive on them or not.

How about a special card that consumers care around, and IF you can prove you drive on the roads, you are qualified to have the card, and thus you can buy goods and services. If you don't have the card, you are SOL.

TeslaRocks | 28/05/2013

Be careful who you can an idiot, TikiMan. If your mouth was a gun, you'd have shot your foot by now. Besides, a "use tax" makes perfect sense, because some drive more than others and some drive heavier vehicles that do more damage to roads so they should pay proportionally more. I once heard that one heavy truck does as much damage as I can't remember how many thousands of cars, and I believe it from seeing the grooves in roads where many of those trucks pass every day.

When you factor in how ICE vehicles are not paying a dumping fee for littering our atmosphere with all that pollution, they are the ones who are no being charged nearly enough.

In the longer run, it is my hope that cars will become lighter and more aerodynamics, or at least some of them will be, which might offset rising energy costs and be less destructive for roads. Other than that, we should ask ourselves about the wisdom behind building endlessly sprawling suburbs and related road, water, and electricity infrastructure that costs a fortune to maintain. There's got to be a smarter way.

SamO | 28/05/2013


Your point is a good one. Taxes should dissuade us from harmful action or in this case, provide revenues commensurate with the damage caused.

Road taxes are a blunt instrument when it comes to capturing that. Weight/wheel x distance travelled would be fairer.


You want to encourage travel and commerce and visitors so road taxes are not effective in growing the economy and encouraging EVs.

Pigovian Taxes ( in the form of a carbon tax would be the best solution as it would provide massive revenues coupled with tons of investments into clean energy.

Plenty of money to fix roads, send people to college, subsidize mortgages, fund wars . . . ;-)

Brian H | 28/05/2013

Carbon taxes are a tax on manufacture and distribution of everything you use and consume. They go into government general funds, and produce little except recession, which is the only proven method of reducing overall emissions. You won't like it, and many will starve or die of fuel poverty (already happening to thousands even in 1st world UK).

Not just dumb, evil.