If you live in Washington State, the cost of driving an electric car is set to go up in February next year.

Not by a lot, it has to be said--but in an effort to get electric car owners to pay their share for the upkeep of roads and bridges, Washington electric car drivers will start paying an additional $100 yearly tax.

The measure comes into force from February 1, 2013, and CBS Seattle estimates that around 1,600 electric cars in the state will be affected.

That includes Nissan Leafs, Tesla Roadsters and some custom-built electric vehicles, but excludes hybrids and plug-ins like the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, and also the range-extended Chevrolet Volt. Neighborhood electric vehicles which cannot exceed 35 mph are also exempt.

Owners will pay the $100 fee at the same time as their annual registration renewal, in addition to regular registration fees.

There have been mixed feelings from electric car owners, but supporters reason that regardless of how little gas an electric car consumes, it still contributes to wear and tear on roadways.

Electric car owners will still pay less tax per mile in most cases. As we noted earlier in 2012, Washington's tax rate on a gallon of gas is 37.5 cents (in addition to the federal 18.4c/gallon).

15,000 miles in a Toyota Prius at 50 mpg would result in taxes of $112.50 per year. A 30 mpg car would be nearer $187.50 over the same distance.

In an electric car, that $100 is irrespective of distance--so the greater mileage you drive, the better value you're getting for your $100.

What do you think of Washington's new flat tax rate for electric cars... and its exemption for cars like the Chevy Volt and Prius Plug-In?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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