Electric Vehicles Come Out Ahead Of Gas Cars On Taxes--Except In Two States: FURTHER UPDATE


Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

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Several states have adopted or proposed special taxes and fees for electric-car drivers. which are supposed to make up for lost revenue from taxes on the fuel their drivers don't buy.

Electric-car advocates typically view these policies as discriminatory, and claim they work against efforts to get more people into plug-ins.

MORE: Washington State's $100 Electric Car Tax: Cheaper Than Gas Car Tax

However, proponents claim electric-car taxes will help provide sorely-needed infrastructure funding. And it's hardly a secret that most state's highways could use the funds.

That's the argument made in a December 2014 article in Roll Call, whose author claims that these taxes suggest an alternative path to highway funding beyond the gas tax--which advances in fuel efficiency are rendering less lucrative.

2014 Chevrolet Volt

2014 Chevrolet Volt

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Five states--Colorado, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington--have already instituted electric-car taxes, and they may soon be joined by Wisconsin.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Since we published this article in late December 2014, Georgia too has added an electric-car registration fee of $200. See details below.]

[ADDITIONAL NOTE: Our reader John Weber points out that Idaho has also added a $140 annual fee for electric cars, as well as a $75 fee for hybrid vehicles, as of July 1, 2015. At the same time, the state raised its gasoline tax from $0.25 to $0.32 per gallon.]

In November, Wisconsin's Department of Transportation proposed a $50 annual registration fee for electric cars--on top of the standard fees paid by all motorists--which opponents say would penalize drivers for buying cleaner vehicles.

Yet Wisconsin electric-car drivers may still come out ahead. Here's why.

The state portion of the Wisconsin gas tax is 32.9 cents per gallon, so even drivers of a high gas-mileage car like the Toyota Prius hybrid--rated at 50 mpg combined--will pay just under $100 in fuel taxes each year, assuming the U.S. average of 15,000 miles driven.

RELATED: Wisconsin: Higher Taxes For Hybrids, Electrics For Not Burning Enough Gas To Fund Road Repairs?

The electric-car driver, meanwhile, simply pays the $50 fee. Drive that plug-in vehicle more than 15,000 miles, and the tax rate per mile decreases even further.

It's the same story in Washington state, which has a $100 electric-car registration fee, and a gas tax of 37.5 cents per gallon.

The difference is smaller, but the hypothetical Prius driver still pays more per year, at $112.50.

Washington also has a high percentage of electric cars on its roads. It's one of only three states with three or more electric cars per 1,000 vehicles registered.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

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Electric cars also come out ahead in Colorado, Nebraska, and North Carolina--the flat fee for electric cars adds up to less than the taxes on a year's worth of gasoline.

EDITOR'S NOTE: In December 2014, we wrote, "The only state where electric cars are taxed more than gasoline cars is Virginia, thanks to the combination of a low state gas tax--11.7 cents per gallon--and two extra fees for plug-in vehicles."


 
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