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Oregon Considering Per-Mile Tax on Fuel Efficient and Electric Vehicles

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A small pothole ready to be repaired using your gas-tax dollars, and taxes on electric vehicles?
A small pothole ready to be repaired using your gas-tax dollars, and taxes on electric vehicles?

The current Oregon bill is considering a 1.5¢/mile tax on vehicles getting over 55mpg, meaning an driver of an electric vehicle would have to pay an additional $225 if he drove 15,000 miles that year.

Taxation is doing your fair share to support the state-run infrastructure in which you live, work, and play. It makes sense, but is it excessive? Depending on where you live, or specifically where you drive, the gas tax may vary from 8¢/gal to 49¢/gal. Ostensibly, this tax should go to highway maintenance and is probably one of the most fair taxes that exist.

Now that hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace, regulators are noting they may not be paying their fair share of the upkeep on the nation’s highways. After all, a mile traveled is a mile traveled, whether your vehicle gets 20, 50, or ∞ miles per gallon.

Oregon isn’t the first state, nor the last, I’m certain, to consider a tax on electric vehicles. Actually, a prior taxation scheme in Oregon was already killed, so who knows whether this current bill will get a signature?

Personally, I think the whole tax system needs to be overhauled, but of course, such ventures are remarkably complicated and difficult to enforce. A gas tax is pretty fair, heavy vehicles using more fuel and doing more to add wear and tear to the roads, and the lighter vehicles less so. Probably a more fair tax might be a tax/mile fee based on weight class and eliminate the gas tax altogether.

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