For many years, Arizona was considered an electric-car friendly state, thanks to California-style tailpipe emissions and mandates which required automakers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emissions cars in order to sell in the state.
But less than a month after the Arizona Governor’s Regulatory Review Council voted to repeal the state’s Clean Cars law and adopt the less-stringent emissions standards set out in Federal law, the state is now considering charging a pay-per-mile tax on electric car use.
Arizona House Bill 2257 -- introduced by Rep. Steve Farley (D-AZ) -- is modeled on proposed Oregonian legislation and would charge electric car owners up to 1.43 cents per mile travelled.
Like the $100 per year tax being proposed in Washington state and the electric car electricity tax being discussed in Kansas, the proposed Arizona tax would be the electric car equivalent of the tax currently levied on gasoline purchases statewide.
Like the gasoline tax, any funds from the pay-per-mile tax would be spent on maintaining the state’s road network.
“One of the only ways we pay for our roadways is through gas tax, so if they’re not paying into the gas tax system we need to find a way of closing that loophole, and getting them to pay for the roads they use,” Rep. Farley told the Cronkite News. “It’s only fair that we pay for the things we use.”
The majority of electric car owners in Arizona agree, according to Jim Stack, president of the Phoenix chapter of the Electric Auto Association.
“Someday it’s all going to be hybrids and electric vehicles,” he said. “it wouldn’t do us any good if we didn’t have any roads.”
But some consumer groups, whilst acknowledging the need to devise a tax system that ensures electric car owners also pay towards road upkeep, have pointed out that the tax could be too much, too soon.
Given the relatively high sticker price of most electric cars on the market today, they argue, an additional taxation system may put off prospective buyers from making the switch.
Diane Brown, executive director of Arizona Public Interest Research Group, had a stark warning to make, despite supporting the taxation of electric cars.
“Any policy that is accounting for electric vehicles should be incentivizing, not discouraging,” she said.
Just how should electric car owners be taxed to help pay for the roads they use? Are taxation schemes too harsh? Have they happened too quickly? Will they discourage electric vehicle adoption?
Let us know in the Comments below.