The gas tax, as high as 49¢/gal in New York, is meant to supply funds to maintain highways and roads in the state. This is probably the fairest tax plan when compared to flat taxes or fees, because drivers pay for what they use. Virginia, on the other hand, has one of the lowest gas taxes of the nation, just 19.8¢/gal, and hasn’t been raised in nearly thirty years. With the introduction of electrified vehicles, this is throwing off funding for the Virginia Department of Transportation [DOT].
Hybrid vehicles travel more miles per gallon than their gasoline-only counterparts, and electric vehicles [EV] use no fuel at all to drive Virginia highways. If electric vehicle drivers don’t pay a gas tax, then where does the DOT get funds for maintenance and repairs?
Virginia Governor McDonnell has what he thinks is a great idea on how to adjust taxes on vehicles and transportation. And he isn’t the first. Washington and Texas have also recently been considering some changes to the gas tax and electrified vehicles.
McDonnell admits the gas tax is insufficient for DOT needs, but instead of raising the gas tax, the obvious and most fair solution, he suggests eliminating it and raising the sales tax from 5% to 5.8%. Just how this makes any sense is beyond me.
Did I forget to mention Governor McDonnell suggests a $100 annual fee [read: tax] on electric vehicles? Drivers of gasoline vehicles won’t have to pay gas taxes, which averaged about $100 per year, plus they won’t have to pay the annual fee. Why are electric vehicle owners to be saddled with this burden? The fair tax, that is, the 19.8¢/gal gas tax, may be insufficient, and it makes sense, but why not just raise the gas tax to modern levels? Electric vehicles aren’t the problem Governor McDonnell, it’s Virginia’s ridiculously-low tax rate.