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State of Washington Might Tax Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The State of Washington is out with a plan to maintain current infrastructure and other needs due to the decline in gas tax revenues. Owners of alternative fuel vehicles may not be happy with what’s proposed.

According to an article posted at (which proves that scans the web to get you the most relevant automotive news), total unfunded state, regional, and local transportation needs through 2030 are estimated at $175 - $200 billion. This total includes 20-year transit needs estimated at $49 billion to maintain current service levels, and city, county, and regional transportation needs estimated at $69 billion.

The state is blaming the shortfall on declining gas tax revenues in spite of a 14.5-cent gas tax hike. Those funds, though, were tied to a specific project list and will not be available for the next 25 to 30 years. In 2040 there should be no shortage of funds in Washington State.

So, to deal with the next 20 years, the State Transportation Commission is recommending, among other steps, “in-lieu-of fees for electric and other high mileage vehicles.” [By high mileage they mean vehicles with high fuel economy and not vehicles with lots of miles on the odometer.] As the commission points out, estimated revenue over 16 years would be anywhere from $1 million to $271 million and could be hampered somewhat by the fact that people may not embrace electric and high-energy vehicles.

What might get more Washingtonians upset is a proposal in the report to rely more on tolls to pay for projects. The commission is even recommending variable pricing, which sets rates according to when road usage is heaviest and lightest.

Read all the details yourself at the state’s transportation commission website.