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.