As Electrek reported in December 2019, “Nearly half of US states impose fees on EV owners or will consider adding fees in 2020. The ill-conceived idea is to make up for gaps in roadway infrastructure investments usually derived from gasoline taxes.” Next up? Texas.
Texan EV owners would be required to pay an extra registration fee of $200 and an additional renewal fee annually from September 1 if the Texas Legislature approves bill HB427 filed by State Representative Ken King (R) last week. Hybrids would pay an extra $100 for registration and renewal.
The bill is intended to provide fees for the state’s highway fund. It’s a response to falling gas tax revenues. “In fiscal year 2020, which resulted in August, Texas collected $2.6 billion in gasoline tax income, 7% lower than the $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2019,” reports OnlineEV.com. Texas drivers of ICE cars pay a state tax of 20 cents a gallon that goes to the highway fund — one of the lowest rates in the US (Texas comes in at No. 44, from highest to lowest). The Texas Comptroller reports that the highway fund had $14.2 billion in 2019 and is projecting $14.6 billion in 2020.
Why on earth would a state, who leads the US in wind power and is now home to Tesla’s under-construction Gigafactory Texas in Austin, which will create thousands of cars and jobs, disincentivize vehicles that eliminate emissions?
You wanna raise some more cash for the roads, Texas? In the short term, raise your super-low gas taxes. As of December 2018, there were 22,600 registered EVs in Texas. There are 22 million registered vehicles in Texas. It’s just kind of dumb business-wise, not to mention bad for the environment in the long term.
EV fees won’t make up for shortages in roadway investments caused by other factors. And it’s heavy trucks that do the real damage to the roads. Let’s hope this ridiculous proposal from King doesn’t pass.
Oh, and King just happens to be from the Texas Panhandle, which just happens to be a major oil and gas production region. King also wants to add a 1 cent tax to each kilowatt hour of power generated by wind, solar, coal, and nuclear. What’s not on the list? Oil and gas. Talk about small-picture thinking on King’s part — and ulterior motives to please the fossil-fuel industry.
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