If you recall a few weeks ago you talked about how the state of Washington voted a $100 tax for electric vehicle, EV owners per year to make up for the loss of gasoline revenue, here; Washington State Taxes Electric Car Drivers For loss of Gasoline Tax. You might also recall we said other states were probably eyeing this with great interest, considering most states run a deficit and an onslaught of EVs driving on roads without paying for infrastructure was too good an opportunity to pass. And indeed, the great state of Texas is now considering an EV tax.
Texas Taxing EVs. Increasing registration fees is certainly high on every states’ agendas with limited budgets and tightening wallets. The state of Texas has been observing the Washington State EV tax and is now mulling over its own. According to the TexasTribune (http://www.texastribune.org/2013/01/22/lawmakers-looking-fees-electric-cars/) taxing EVs is: “one of the options on the table,” according to state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, who was vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee last legislative session.
EVs Tear Up Roads! Another amusing statement appears halfway through when Darby says: “I think we need to make sure that electric vehicles that tear up our roads pay their fair share. Should we have the same registration fee for fuel-burning vehicles as electric vehicles?” EVs tearing up roads, now that’s an interesting conundrum. The article goes on to discuss that the state is focusing on finding a reliable stream of revenue for transportation this session. Reliable stream of revenue? The state of Texas must know something we don’t. If one thing is certain in this uncertain economy, reliable revenues are not easy to predict.
Fair Is Fair. So far, the state taxes the gallon of gasoline at 38.4 cents and federal taxes have not been raised in 20 years. Much like driver’s budgets, they too have failed to keep up with inflation. But let’s look at what would be fair for a second. How about every vehicles paying for the amount of time and distance spent on the road. This would pay for traffic lights, maintenance and other infrastructure. With the amount of electronics and GPS systems installed in modern cars, it would be a smarter idea to tax vehicles according to how frequently and how far they travel.
The state of Texas is grappling with decreasing revenues, which is troubling coming from one of the biggest petroleum producers in the country. Steady and reliable streams of revenues are hard to find in this economy but since we are on the topic, we could start taxing all vehicles, electric cars included for actual usage and not an arbitrary number designed to maintain unbalanced budgets.