Hybrid and electric cars are usually so wonderfully magical and great at saving the earth that governments have often incentivized people to buy them. But in an unusual twist, one state government has decided to tell its Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster-owning residents that they can go ahead and suck it.
Starting Feb. 1, drivers in Washington will have to pay an additional $100 annual fee at registration if they own an electric car. This is the result of a law that was passed in their last legislative session, according to the Seattle Times. Why is the state doing this? It's not because they're a bunch of V8 Mustang owners who think electric cars are for weenies.
No, the additional fee is to help the state compensate for the gasoline taxes that these electric car owners don't have to pay anymore. The money supposedly goes towards highway and road improvements. Here's what the Times reports:
Washington's gas tax stands at 37.5 cents per gallon and is the state's largest source of transportation dollars. It costs the average motorist, driving roughly 12,000 miles in a vehicle that gets 23 mpg, about $200 a year.
Advocates for the fee say it's fair because electric vehicles put the same wear and tear on the roads as any car, but the owners of these cars are mad because they're already paying taxes on electricity. Lefty Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger called it an arbitrary move, since there are so few electric vehicles on the road anyway:
Yes, the gas tax pays for road maintenance, and yes, electric cars use the roads like everybody else. But they don't generate the same sort of external costs as their gas-fueled cousins, and with only about 1,600 of them currently registered in the state, the additional revenue is barely worth the effort of collecting it. It's just hard to see the value of levying this particular fee at this particular time.
But maybe electric car owners shouldn't get too angry. After all, they still qualify for thousands of dollars in tax credits when they purchase a new electric car or even a plug-in hybrid like the Toyota Prius.
What do you think of this law? Is it unfair or is it a good way for electric car owners to pay their fair share?
Photo credit Shutterstock
Hat tip to SuperCharger.Heaven!