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Texas Also Considers Taxing Electric Vehicles

Washing state has passed a $100 electric vehicle tax fee while other states observe the consequences. Now the state of Texas is also considering taxing electric vehicles for road use and maintenance.


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 ( 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.


Tre Deuce (not verified)    January 29, 2013 - 12:51PM

Hi! Nicolas,

Reg; "taxing all vehicles, electric cars included for actual usage" Careful what you wish for.

That could require added expensive dedicated equipment in all vehicles and older vehicles for sure, and probably new vehicles as well, unless an annual reporting system is used. Washington state has a toll on one of the floating bridges connecting Seattle with the East counties, across Lake Washington, and fast lane tolls in other areas, these require equipment to utilize or not be inconvenienced by physically stopping to pay the toll.

Governments rarely give up income sources once established. So for them to back out of the established fees in lieu of the mileage tax, looks dicey. We would probably pay both.

EV's don't need any disincentives at this point, though a $100.00 for someone who can afford the cost of an EV'/Hybrid, shouldn't be a no go threshold, it probably wouldn't stop there, though. Feds would have to get a piece of the pie, and the states would probably go back to the well for more money.

I would like to see a 10 year moratorium on use fees for full EV's. or a portion of taxes on electrical grid energies used for fueling EV's, be diverted to highway funds.


Nicolas Zart    January 29, 2013 - 3:41PM

In reply to by Tre Deuce (not verified)

Thank you Tre, I think the issue is not that of not paying, and I would assume every EV owner wants to do their part, the problem with politicians is they often see consumer's wallets as extension's of their budgets. In a better economy, those things would not be discussed but the fact they are now eying it means we need to be vigilant. How many laws were passed that worked against consumers or even budding new markets.

As far as tracking actual miles driven, yes, it's a very, very thorny issue but it has merit. We are tracked already, what we do or say is being listened to or monitored by social media or search engines. That much shouldn't scare us anymore. A good tweaker will be able to your connection and take the car out for a drive if necessary, of course. New vehicles are already hardwired for this.

It's not the $100 per se, it's the way states can't balance budget and dig into consumer's pockets. It would be more intelligent to have a system that taxes you on usage, say last year you drove 30,000 miles and bill you accordingly.

As always, there are more solutions than obstacles. Thanks for your input, Nicolas

Tre Deuce (not verified)    January 29, 2013 - 5:48PM

In reply to by Nicolas Zart

I find nothing wrong in your comment with regard to paying your fair share and the rest, and this is off topic, but this scares the hell out me, literally sends a shiver through me. Regarding 'Tracking' and 'Monitored' ... "That much shouldn't scare us anymore."

American's have come a ways to far if this the general attitude. Our acceptance of loss of privacy at nearly every level, doesn't bode well for our now, and future privacy, and rights. We have passively accepted something our founding fathers tried to protect us from. Apparently we no longer understand and appreciate the profound value of these inalienable rights.

Ever since we accepted drug testing and then the freedoms/rights taken since 9-11, we have continued down this path of allowing our freedoms to wash away for some idealized, unsustainable, unsupportable, reach for all encompassing safety. We have become an unnecessarily fearful people and it won't serve us well, or the future generations. Most of the new restrictive laws regarding loss of freedoms, privacy, and rights, are political and profit motivated. It only serves governments and corporations. When I see 'any' politician play the fear card, they have lost all credibility for me. And the people who buy into the fear are even scarier, as they provide the means/force/support for government to curtail our freedoms and rights. Even the ultimate right to jail us, kill us, if we resist.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

Now, I may have reached a bit in regards to this issue and the intention of your remarks, Nicolas, if so, reassure me.

There are many reasons states, counties, cities, have a hard time balancing budgets, the demands on government by society, the citizenry, are huge, and nobody wants to pay taxes. Apparently, it should all be gratis. We have the lowest personal and corporate taxation of the top twenty developed nations, and it is still too much? Californians, showed some real mettle, when they voted to raise taxes on themselves to deal with the issues they face. Kudos to them.


Aaron Turpen    January 29, 2013 - 6:01PM

In reply to by Tre Deuce (not verified)

Most areas have a tax imbalance because 1) citizens demand too much; 2) politicians promise too much, and; 3) income is always based on "good times" scenarios. In some states (such as mine), fiscal responsibility is held as the highest ideal and we have no budget deficits. People claim that government is required to "feed the hungry" and whatever, but the reality is that most government spending is not on social programs to help the needy, it's on warfare and waste.

Tre Deuce (not verified)    January 29, 2013 - 6:14PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Herald the Trumpets on that comment.

Warfare and corporate welfare/waste.. Even our military is to the benefit of corporations, and has little to do with "Protecting our freedoms" Makes me want to choke somebody every time I hear that.

COL! Boy, are we off topic now. I better make myself useful get out into the shop and pull the engine out of my old Nissan pick-up.

Col! .... Chuckling out loud!

Nicolas Zart    January 29, 2013 - 7:17PM

In reply to by Tre Deuce (not verified)

Yes, the problem is that only 1% of the population rings the alarm bell but while rest is oblivious. On the flip side, there is only so far it can go. We are already in the midst of one of the worse economic crises, and no matter how many reassuring Wall Street positive trading stories, middle class's wallets are not growing. Fear was a tool successfully used to manipulate economies, unfortunately beyond intelligent results.

The problem is that our economies are based on flawed theories and last time I checked, economy means to economize, not be wasteful as we do. That's why alternative energy vehicles are a breath of fresh air and as we witness startups making inroads, we gain a little freedom again, if not at least for a short while

You're right, we are to blame and elected officials haven't heard form us as much as they should have. We pay less here then elsewhere, but we are also working more and enjoying life less. It's a trade-off. I just got back from Jury Duty and witnessed city hall people who have no idea how tough life is outside. I can't miss a week's worth of work, telephone calls and all. It would sink me. Not being subjected to this makes it hard for them to effectively manage our lives and budgets. Yes, the founding fathers had it right, serve your duty then go back to your fields and that's all. No compensations, life-long healthcare or anything of the sort. Indeed, this is a dilemma. Nicolas

Tre Deuce (not verified)    January 29, 2013 - 4:25PM

In reply to by Aaron Turpen

Interesting idea, Aaron. Probably due to the fact, that people would push the limits of safety to avoid the tax. And without an annual vehicle inspection, that would be the case. Now Texas does have an annual inspection.

And by the way, speaking of Texas, I really like their roads and highway systems and features, but everybody drives to fast. Even neighborhood speed limits are generally quite high.

Aaron Turpen    January 29, 2013 - 4:30PM

In reply to by Tre Deuce (not verified)

I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that it would be an up-front, obvious, and costly tax rather than one bled out over time in smaller increments as the fuel tax is. When people see a tax in big, bold face for what it is and realize how much it is costing them, they get agitated.

Nicolas Zart    January 29, 2013 - 7:22PM

In reply to by Tre Deuce (not verified)

There are so many ways for governments to make money off of the automotive industry that would also enhance driver safety and reduce waste. The problem is that our economy philosophy relies on waste. I read somewhere we waste up to 40% of the food we make. It's hard to fathom how and why.