I saw this story on another site and my gut reaction was to man the defenses and shout, “No New Taxes!” but think about it, are electric vehicles [EV] getting a free ride on the nation’s highways?
State legislators seem to think so, and one after another, states are looking to tax EVs. Because EVs don’t burn gasoline, they don’t pay gasoline taxes, which means they don’t contribute to state highway and road construction and maintenance. In order to help pay for these things, there needs to be some kind of tax. As long as the tax is implemented fairly, it’s actually not a bad idea. That’s a big if, and we hope it doesn’t treat EVs owners unfairly.
Take for example the 0.839¢/mi tax proposed by NJ Senator James Whalen. Some outlets have jumped on it without considering the implications of such a tax. First of all, the bill doesn’t mention electric vehicles anywhere, just passenger vehicles registered in the State of New Jersey.
All passenger vehicles would be exempt from state gasoline taxes*, which would put everyone, conventional, hybrids, electric vehicles, on equal footing. Other states have proposed a per-mile tax on vehicles over 55mpg or electric vehicles, which seems to target EV owners, but the bill in New Jersey actually seems like the most fair of them all.
*Passenger vehicles that use gasoline would still be subject to the 18.4¢/gal federal gasoline tax. I wonder if the addition of electric vehicles to the nation’s light-vehicle fleet will cause the government to consider a similar per-mile tax over the current per-gallon tax?