New Tax Laws Proposed For Electric & Hybrid Vehicles

When the federal government spends more each year than it collects in tax revenues, it has three choices: It can raise taxes, print money, or borrow money. While these actions may benefit politicians, all three options are bad for average Americans. –Ron Paul 

Recently, there have been multiple states that have begun to consider legislation which would specifically tax hybrid and electric vehicles. The reason, they are arguing, is that gas tax revenue is expected to drastically decrease in the future due to greater fuel efficient vehicles. As such, with much of the funding that goes towards our nation’s roadways arising from gas tax revenue, some states fear that at some point, the revenue generated will not be enough to help cover the costs of maintenance and upkeep.

However, this has a lot of people up in arms, specifically those that own electric and hybrid vehicles. They feel that they are being penalized for going “green”, also that on average, green vehicles are significantly more expensive to purchase. Most of which, do not receive sales tax breaks for purchasing such vehicles. It’s felt that more effort should go towards saving tax payer’s money rather than creating new laws to tax people more.

So what should be done?

It’s obvious that everyone does need to pitch in to ensure our roadways are safe and maintained. This is going to take money, which does indeed have to come in the form of taxes. But is our taxing system fair? With gas taxes, those with lower efficiency vehicles as well as those that simply drove more were already footing a larger portion of the bill. But perhaps the time to reexamine our tax system for maintaining roadways has come. What follow here are a few ideas of different methods of taxing that may be more fair for drivers.

Highway Tax Based On Usage

One option that should be considered is a highway tax based on usage. The number of miles driven as well as the weight of a vehicle certainly determine the overall wear and tear on our highway infrastructure, and when it comes down to it, that is the reason we are being taxed right? Because through our use of it, roadways become worn, and as such, those that use roadways more frequently and drive heavier vehicles should be taxed more. It seems fair from the surface, but there would certainly be those that disagree. Mainly, companies that deal with freighting and transportation, but again, they are using it more and should be paying more as a result.

Weight would be an easy determination and could be calculated into a taxing system relatively easy. As far as usage is concerned, there have been ideas about reporting your vehicles odometer reading annually and being taxed off of that. Deepening on the total number of miles driven in a year dictates exactly what should be taxed. Anyone caught falsifying their actual reading can be fined or face some form of penalty.

Highway Taxes Separate From Car Ownership

Another idea is that even though a person may not own a car, they should still pay for the upkeep of our highway system. The reason being that even though they are not driving, they are certainly benefiting from proper roadways being in place. They may be taking the bus, or carpooling, but beyond that,  everything from the food they consume to the clothes they purchase and entertainment they enjoy at some point used roadways to make it’s way to them. Transportation in this country, and all that entails, is not free. There are costs, and we all benefit from it. For that reason we should all be chipping in to ensure our roadways are maintained and safe.

New Technology To Increase Roadway Longevity

There are those that feel rather than finding new ways to tax people for road maintenance, perhaps we should be investing in ways to increase the longevity of our roads. This can come in the form of new concrete compositions, or new materials that can be used altogether. In that way, the initial cost may be more expensive, but over the long run, the cost of maintenance and repair would go down. If this worked, we would not need to be taxed as much since once in place, roads could withstand a lot more wear and tear. This is sort of a proactive approach rather than a reactionary one, and should most definitely be considered by policy makers.

In The End

In the end, one of these options, a hybrid of them all, or other ideas should be considered. It certainly doesn’t make much sense to punish those for buying more fuel efficient vehicles when the trend in our country has been to become more fuel independent. If anything, a string of new laws taxing hybrids and electric vehicles will only result in the slowing of their acceptance by the public. Hopefully this will be resolved in the best manner and does not simply throw the burden onto a select few individuals. But as we know about the taxing system in this country, that is generally the case that occurs.

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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @JakabokBotch. If you are in need of a Colorado Brake Repair, be sure to check out one of the many AAMCO locations at