Extra fees possible for electric and hybrid vehicle owners

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Should electric and hybrid car owners pay more to register their cars? It’s a proposal being considered by state lawmakers to help fix our highways.

It’s a bill that was pushed by the governor and strongly endorsed by the state Department of Transportation.

The bill points out that owners of gas powered cars pay taxes every time they fill up. A lot of that money is spent to fix our highways. 

Hybrid car owners don’t have to pay nearly as much while electric vehicle owners get off scot-free. Gas powered car owners say EV and hybrid owners should pay more of their share.

“They still use the roads and the weight of the car damages the road too because I think it’s a heavier car than the normal cars,” said car owner Rodney Flores.

The proposal wants to add another $70 per year for electric vehicle owners, $35 for hybrid vehicle owner. The money collected will go to the state highway fund.

“I think it’s fair, because we don’t buy gas so we sort of circumvent the road taxes. We use the roads. I think it’s more than fair,” said EV owner Robert Lee.

He admits that many EV owners won’t agree with him, but he feels the $70 a year is not too high a price to pay to keep the highways in better shape. 

He says as long as the other benefits are not taken away, such as free metered parking and being allowed to go on the HOV lane without restrictions, he’s willing to pay. 

In general, he says having the EV has been a real money saver.

“I’ve done rough ballpark calculations. If you have an electric car and my other car is a gas car, gas is about $3, $3.50 a gallon. If you use the electric car and go the same mileage, it’ll be about half price,” said Lee.

“Everybody should be equivalent on the roads paying taxes. We pay gas and they don’t. I know they pay electric, but I don’t think it’s as much as paying for gas,” said Flores.

The bill, SB1011 SD2 HD1, is scheduled for another hearing at the House Finance Committee on Wednesday.

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