10th January 2013
As more and more people are turning to all-electric and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, there is a corresponding decline in gas tax revenue. And this creates a conundrum for the state Department of Transportation: how to pay for upgrading and maintaining our roadways.
Revenue from Washington’s 37.5 cents per gallon gas tax generates the largest portion of transportation funds, but only 8 cents of the revenue goes to funding repairs and maintenance, safety improvements on both highways and ferries, and congestion relief projects.
The Legislature started to address this problem in the last session with HB 2660, which imposes an annual electric vehicle fee of $100. Starting Feb. 1, owners of the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadsters and certain modified all-electric vehicles will pay the fee when they renew their vehicle registration.
Raise your hand, everyone who’s had to listen to some boring old fart of a politician pushing electric cars and higher fuel economy while decrying ‘dependence on foreign oil’. Now they suddenly discover that — SURPRISE — people who’ve been doing what said politicians have been pushing for decades pay less gasoline tax. HORROR! People are paying less tax! We have to ‘fix’ that! So we’ll smack them with special fees ‘in lieu of’ the gas tax that they’re not paying. Rather like a credit card company charging you a fee for not charging enough stuff.
No good deed goes unpunished.