North Carolina Enacts $100 Electric Vehicle Road Use Fee


Electric Vehicle Road Use Tax, Not Entirely Well-Thought-Out
Electric Vehicle Road Use Tax, Not Entirely Well-Thought-Out

Most States use fuel taxes for at least a portion of the transportation budget, which raises a question, “How does the State pay for extra wear and tear of electric vehicles, which don’t pay fuel taxes?”

For the most part, fuel taxes make sense. Heavier vehicles inflict more damage to the highway system, and they use more fuel. Therefore, they pay more fuel taxes, which helps offset their damages. On the other hand, electric vehicles don’t use any fuel, therefore they don’t incur any fuel taxes, so the wear and tear they inflict on the roads is pretty much unaccounted for.

To address this situation, a number of states have enacted “road use fees.,” I agree that electric vehicle owners should pay their fair share. I’m not sure that a flat rate is entirely fair, for drivers of conventional vehicles, either! Oregon and New Jersey are considering per-mile taxes on vehicles over 55mpg, which would include electric vehicles. This is probably the most-fair, but perhaps a more-fair idea would be a ton-mile tax, eliminating fuel taxes, proposed by Michael Webber, of the New York Times.

It seems that a number of States have taken the easy way out and enacted a flat-rate “road use fee” for electric vehicles, such as Washington and Virginia, among others. North Carolina is joining the ranks, having just enacted a $100 per year road use fee on electric vehicles. Depending on how much you drive, $100 per year could actually be a bargain! If you consider North Carolina’s gas tax is at 57.6¢/gal and the average American drives his average 23.9mpg car 11,500 miles per year, that’s a savings of $177/yr, not including $1,589/yr in fuel.

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