Are you a Washington State resident? Do you have eyes for a Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus Electric? Then be prepared to pony up an additional Benjamin every year in order to drive in the Evergreen State.
According to the Associated Press, the Washington State Senate has passed a bill that aims to charge electric car owners a $100 annual fee to compensate for the lack of gas taxes they pay. Democrat Senator Mary Margaret Haugen explained that while EVs are beneficial to the environment, they put the same strain on the roads that gas vehicles do.
If Senator Haugen’s main argument is that EVs cause just as much wear and tear as gas-powered vehicles, it’s a weak one at best. First off, how many old clunkers do you see leaking gasoline all over parking lots and at stop lights? Also, look at the weight difference between a petrol-imbibing Chevy Suburban and a tiny-shoed Nissan Leaf. Washington needs to compensate somehow for any possible loss in vehicle tax revenue.
It’s worth noting that Washington’s 37.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax is the state’s largest source of transportation revenue. This bill will not apply to hybrids or those that do not exceed 35MPH. Although the bill passed recently, it still has to head up to the House for the final verdict.
I can understand the tax if a significant percentage of drivers were piloting EVs, but it seems far too early in the game for legislators to begin bringing down the Tax Hammer. What do you think?