Texas joins a growing number of states considering an electric car tax to make up for lost gasoline revenue.
So far Virginia is considering electric car tax and Washington State already has a $100 fee put into place. Now Texas has added itself to the mix. The state of Texas, like Virginia, has not changed its gas tax in about twenty years – the Texas gas tax sits at 38.4 cents per gallon.
Republican Representative Drew Darby, who has come out to be the voice of this proposal, has suggested that, “electric vehicles that tear up our roads”, need to pay their fair share. Plug-In Texas, a growing group promoting the use of hybrid and battery electric technology, say there are currently only 2,000 plug-in vehicles in the state of Texas. 2,000 plug-in vehicles are not really going put a negative dent in the current gas tax revenue.
There are many concerns here, but let us focus on two. The first concern is that an additional tax on electric vehicles to make up for lost gas revenue will drive consumers away from the electric vehicle market. The second concern is that of a double tax. The vast majority of electric car owners charge their electric cars at home. That’s using electricity that you are already taxed on to power your car. So you’re paying taxes on your electricity and now also to make up for the lack of gas revenue, even though your electric car requires no gas. Oh, and there’s the fact that big rigs and heavy trucks do
hundreds thousands of times more damage to the roads than any passenger car or pickup. If anybody needs to pay more road taxes, it is commercial trucking companies.
Policy issues such as this really interest me, what’s going on here? Is this a fear of acceptance of a new technology? We talk about getting away from reliance on oil and yet when we make steps to do just that, in this example using electric vehicles, we discourage the public by slapping a tax on them. Is this about politicians being invested and backed by oil companies? Is this really about generating needed revenue because our American infrastructure is in such bad shape? Or are politicians just being lazy and not taking the time to figure out solutions to complex situations?
I don’t have all the answers, not yet anyhow. But keep an eye on this issue because as more electric vehicles hit the roads it will be interesting to see how certain groups of people react.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison