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Oregon, Too, Wants To Tax Electric Cars (And 55-MPG-Plus Cars Too)

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Electric car-friendly Oregon may join the growing list of states imposing a dedicated tax on electric vehicles.

Like other states looking to tax electric and fuel efficient cars, Oregon is pre-empting a rise in the number of electric vehicles on the roads and a subsequent fall in revenue from gas tax.

Officials say they're looking for more sources of funding to maintain the state's road network and other transportation projects.

But it isn't just electric vehicles that'll be hit by increased fees, says The Register-Guard--vehicles attaining over 55 mpg would also be taxed at a higher rate.

Taxed per mile

House Bill 2453 would apply a per-mile fee to electric vehicles, or those that get 55 mpg or better, for vehicles produced in 2015 or after.

The suggested fee is around 1.56 cents per mile, equivalent to what the average car owner would pay in gas taxes. Over 15,000 miles, the average electric vehicle owner would pay $234.

The state is unsure quite how to collect the tax as yet, as the per-mile method makes it more difficult than a set fee. One option would be via an on-board GPS system or cell phone--though if it's the latter, there'd presumably be some way of disabling it should you use someone else's car, or take public transport...

An alternative would be an on-board mileage tracker that doesn't monitor your location. Better from a privacy perspective, but flawed in its inability to discern between public roads, or those on private land or out of state.

The last option would be a flat annual fee, though with a high 35,000-mile equivalent cost, this would rule out many electric vehicle owners straight away.

Oregon not alone

It isn't the first time Oregon has proposed such a tax--the same thing was suggested back in 2009, while similar concepts have been raised for the last decade or so.

Only now, as electric vehicle and fuel-efficient vehicle adoption has been increasing, is the state taking a more serious look about ways to raise revenue for transport.

It's a problem faced by other states, including Washington, Virginia and Texas. Tax revenue from gasoline has stagnated over the years, owing to frozen taxes that haven't kept pace with inflation.

It's leaving several states with a shortfall which they're now looking to close up--and green vehicles are the new, easy target.

Craig Campbell, a lobbyist representing the AAA, says a per-mile fee is the fairest way of taxing such vehicles.

"You have folks in pickup (trucks) who are paying far more than their fair share and you have folks in hybrids or electric vehicles who are paying nothing to the roads system,” he explained.

While Oregon wants to implement the system in a way that wouldn't "shock" people into some kind of rebellion, many electric car owners will feel the proposed fees are both disproportionate and invasive.

Do you have any thoughts on the new wave of electric and green vehicle taxes? Let us know below.

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Comments (20)
  1. Taxing the efficiency you are promoting is a bad idea. Tax needs to be increased and calculated as a percentage of cost on every gallon of fuel destined for highway usage, not x.xx amount per gallon. As fuel goes up, so does the tax. Put a hard floor under the tax so if fuel goes down, tax never falls below a certain minimum. Then there is no additional paperwork burden for which vehicle pays which gas tax rate.

    This system would promote fuel efficiency and the tax dollars still come in. At some point, the largest road usage tax would come from the wealthiest who drive overpowered gas hogs, people who use trucks in their jobs and from heavy hiway trucks. In the last two cases, the fuel expense is passed to the end user.
     
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  2. Mark, states have no fiscal reason to promote fuel efficiency. Less efficient vehicles give them more tax revenue. Now that fuel efficient vehicles are out there now, they need to find out how to capture that "revenue that they are owed" which is the real problem.
     
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  3. We don't need some fancy gps to track our movements. Every vehicle I've ever owned has included an odometer. Every state I've ever lived in has required a yearly vehicle registration. When you renew your registration, require us to report our odometer reading. Combine that with the vehicle weight to calculate the wear on the roads - and tax appropriately.
     
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  4. I like this idea. As the author pointed out, though, it would penalize cars that drive mainly on private land/roads, like fleet vehicles that stay within a facility.
     
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  5. Haven't those same vehicles being penalized for years via the tax they pay on gasoline for fuel?

    This is designed to "replace" the gas tax, and as such, I don't see how it's any "less fair" (than the gas tax) to internal fleet vehicles.
     
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  6. What's the hurry? Have we spotted a new cash cow in the land of taxes? Way to go, folks! Discouraging the sale of electric cars before the trend takes hold is NOT the way to go. There'll be lots of time to collect taxes after we allow more people to own electric cars. Taxing electrics now may very well kill the goose that laid the golden egg!!!
     
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  7. How about taxing those who abuse the roads the most. Heavy trucks, larger SUVs and anyone driving a German car...
     
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  8. Great way to discourage people from buying high milage or electric cars. Those that buy the gas guzzlers should be the ones to pay, they create more CO2 emissions, as well as continued dependance on foreign oil
     
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  9. Also to be considered...
    If the concept is 'pay-per-use', not merely per mile...
    That F350 represents considerably more wear & tear on your road system than a prius...should they pay the same amount?
     
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  10. Taxing something that should be encouraged isn't exactly the right approach. How about increasing the tax on low MPG cars to help offset the increasing number of High MPG cars. Kinda like a feebate.
     
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  11. This could be interesting experiment as taxes & fees tend to drive human behavior.

    How does 55 MPG tax apply? Is it based on real world driving conditions, or based on EPA sticker? City EPA, or Highway EPA, or some combined MPG value?

    If fee passed based on MPG, it places Oregon in interesting position. As a CARB Section 177 state Oregon needs to match California's fleet CO2/mile reductions. Also manufactures & state is required to meet increasing minimum percentage of ZEVs (Zero Emission Vehicle) are sold per year.

    Oregon's most populous metro, Portland borders with Vancouver, WA (across river), and has no mileage fees for Hybrid vehicles. For an out-of-state registered vehicle this could mean big savings… eg: taxis & courier operators.
     
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  12. To make it fair, they should tax all citizens. They can increase the sales tax for example.

    If not, then they should tax bicyclists, pedestrians, car poolers, horse riders, bus riders, and anyone else whose transportation deprives the state of gas tax revenue.

    How about taxing non-smokers for depriving the state of cigarette tax revenues?

    This is all too sarcastic.
     
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  13. I am in favor of paying some road tax for my EV, since I am still using the roads and I want them to be maintained. However, raise the gas tax also!
     
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  14. As an Ev owner I agree. Ev owners should pay their fair share not way morenot more like what is happening in virginia. I like the idea of taxation based on miles driven and mulitplied by vehicle weight. its not that hard to do.
     
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  15. I think OR should impose a tax on EVs and very efficient cars ALONG with an increase in the gas tax. They need to close a budget gap so everyone should pitch in. As far as tax based on mileage, using the honor system is best and cheapest. Simply report your mileage every year when you renew your tabs and pay the appropriate tax. if you lie, you will still pay when you sell the car or its wrecked...
     
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  16. No problem - the State of Oregon can add a one-time $100 fee to the Sales tax on the purchases of the all-electric car bought in Oregon by an Oregon resident or any out-of-state person who buys their all-electric rig in the State of Oregon. I agree, an all-electric car buyer needs ta help out with state expenses, but only once, and only $100. Done deal. Final days of sale! Over! Out! Going out of business for good! Smack! Pow! Ouch!
     
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  17. As an Oregonian and a Cmax Energi owner, I believe I owe something for the decreased fuel taxes I'm paying. However, the other benefits I'm providing, such as reduced polution thru use of hydro and wind produced electricity, for which I pay a premium, should also be taken into account. Some mentioned raise the gas tax. Oregon did that not long ago, going up 25% from 25 to 30 cents. A person mentioned WA has to fee. They actually have a $100 fee for EVs and some hybrids. After reading HB 2453, I am unhappy with numerous choices. They don't even name the number they'll use to determine whether a vehicle exceeds the 55 mpg rate that requires the payment of the tax. The EPA numbers are known to be way off for full and partial EVs.
     
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  18. One other thing to mention. Oregon doesn't have a sales tax.
     
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  19. And you can't pump your own gas....
     
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  20. i'd tax all vehicles a mileage charge tied to weight and then
    keep the gas taxes the same. So big SUVs are taxed for gas and mileage
    and little EVs are taxed for mileage
     
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