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Today's edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that yesterday, by a vote of 132-70, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a measure which would impose supplemental annual registration fees of $175 for owners of electric cars, and $75 for owners of a hybrid gas-electric vehicles. None of the funds thus collected would be earmarked for improving Pennsylvania's weak ( especially as compared to neighboring New York State ) EV charging infrastructure..

As the owner of both a 2020 Chevy Bolt, and a 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid, I would be hit twice.

The bill is now scheduled to be sent to the State Senate, and, if approved, would be sent to Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe, for signature.

I have a pretty good rapport with my State Representative, Greg Vitali, and will call him for more information. He has always been a strong supporter of environmental legislation, and I am pretty sure that he opposed the EV tax. I also had a good rapport with our equally progressive State Senator, Daylin Leach, but he got expelled from the Democratic Party in the primary, and the woman who won his seat is an unknown on environmental issues, though she did have very strong support from the Governor.

I ask all of you, especially those of you who are Pennsylvania residents, to write to Governor Wolfe, and ask him to veto the bill .We should not be punished for purchasing vehicles which are so much better for the environment than those powered by internal combustion engines; but which cost so much more to purchase.
 

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We don't pay the taxes on gas, road maintenance comes from that income (supposedly...we all know of a pothole or two that has never been properly fixed.)
 

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Yeah I've been paying california EV usage fees for a few years now. The up side is the longer I own the car, the cheaper the registration fees are. But it's the fairest system they can come up with at the moment. This is sort of an old argument, as it's well established that heavy trucking is responsible for a disproportionate amount of use-based road wear, yet to make diesel taxes high enough to offset it in a proportional way is a non starter the moment you begin thinking about it. Everybody that drives has to fork over, and it's long been a target for ICE trolls. You can say that now isn't the time all you want, but when will it be time? We just have to suck it up and pay something fair (emphasis on fair) I always paid before, and while it sucks because I was so used to getting handouts basically, I just had to put on my big boy pants and get over it.

And yeah some jurisdictions are overcharging, but at some point we'll all figure out a way to pay by the mile and and vehicle class and that will be that. You do know that PA has the highest gas tax in the country. And the average gas tax a year is $264 in the US. You still might be making out at $175... especially in PA. I understand why you're pissed, but write your dude anyways. There's no harm.
 

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The biggest problem with an EV tax is the flat fee. At least with a gas tax, the more you drive (use the roads) the more you pay so there is some correlation between the resources you are using and the tax. I've had my 2019 for a year and a half and I've put 4600 miles on it. So there needs to be some way to prorate the EV tax by mileage or something.

Mike
 

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So there needs to be some way to prorate the EV tax by mileage or something.
Well yeah wouldn't that be nice if we could just pay at the end of the year when we re-registered, but then there are all those turkeys that say "But half of those miles I was driving in Ohio! I shouldn't pay for those!" And then they tell Ohio that they ought to piss off because "I'm a Pennsylvania resident!"

Can you imagine the paperwork?

Maybe they're more reasonable than THAT, but you see how this gets complicated quickly. The solution is probably electronic and involves a GPS, and nobody's gonna like it at first, and people are gonna cheat it, there will be privacy problems, and can you imagine the attack ads every few years?
 

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Taxes rarely relate directly to a public need, they mostly are just ways to fund general government operations. The gas tax is often cited as being useful to fund road construction and maintenance, and in a sense it probably does by contributing to the general funds used to pay for road construction.

Gas taxes are actually two taxes lumped together, a federal excise tax ($.184), and a state portion, in PA this is .587. So, PA ICE drivers pay $.771/gal in combines gas tax, second only to CA where drivers pay $.8087/gal. For an average PA driver (lets assume 10K miles, 25MPG), this means they pay about $308 per year in gas taxes.

EV registration fees appear to be an attempt to recover lost gas tax revenue. To the extent these fees closely match what average drivers in your state pay in gas taxes, it is reasonably fair. So, the $175 PA collects from EV owners appears more than fair.

The frustrating part is, government officials don't use the tax money as intended, but rather use it to fund other government programs. If gas taxes were put in a fund specifically to build and maintain roads, public sentiment would be more accepting. Further, EV taxes, in addition to funding roads, should also be used to fund charging infrastructure. But because the EV "road use" tax is a lump sum versus paid at the pump, it appears harsh.

In my state (CO), the state government views EVs as a solution to a big air quality problem. The Front Range suffers from poor air quality due to geographic conditions which trap pollutants. As a result, CO has set sights on joining the ZEV states in order to get manufacturers to prioritize the state for EV availability. They reinforce this effort with a modest $50 annual EV fee on registrations, 50% of which is used to fund Charge Ahead CO grants to install public charging. They also offer a leading EV tax rebate program, offering up to $4K (was $5K last year) for those who purchase EVs and PHEVs. Because the $50 fee is both reasonable, and partly dedicated to EV infrastructure, it is not controversial. While CO does a poor job explaining where the $50 goes, EV clubs in the state understand and socialize the programs, helping EV owners rest easier knowing there is a good cause.

If PA is using a portion for EV infrastructure, or even specifically for roads, they should make that well known. Government accountability is important to maintain the will of the people. Lack of accountability should not be tolerated. If they are collecting funds from EV owners with no intention of using the money for roads and EV infrastructure, your voting choices might need to be re-examined in favor of candidates who will welcome accountability to the people. Yes, that may mean voting red or blue against your traditional habits. If the issue is not important enough to you to change your voting habits, then perhaps it is not important enough to complain about.
 

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Well yeah wouldn't that be nice if we could just pay at the end of the year when we re-registered, but then there are all those turkeys that say "But half of those miles I was driving in Ohio! I shouldn't pay for those!" And then they tell Ohio that they ought to piss off because "I'm a Pennsylvania resident!"

Can you imagine the paperwork?

Maybe they're more reasonable than THAT, but you see how this gets complicated quickly. The solution is probably electronic and involves a GPS, and nobody's gonna like it at first, and people are gonna cheat it, there will be privacy problems, and can you imagine the attack ads every few years?
True. The same thing could happen with ICE cars though. You could live in Pennsylvania very near the Ohio border and work 50 miles into Ohio so most of your driving is in Ohio. But you always fill up near home in Pennsylvania and pay Pennsylvania gas taxes. One way to do it would be to ask people to report their mileage at every tag registration. Then when you sell or trade the car, the title can't be transferred until the odometer is verified and you've paid whatever balance is there: so if you cheat, it'll catch up with you eventually.

Mike
 

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The biggest problem with an EV tax is the flat fee. At least with a gas tax, the more you drive (use the roads) the more you pay so there is some correlation between the resources you are using and the tax. I've had my 2019 for a year and a half and I've put 4600 miles on it. So there needs to be some way to prorate the EV tax by mileage or something.

Mike
Yes, and no. IF (big if) the funds are used to ensure good roads are available when you need them, then a good portion of the lump sum tax is going to a good purpose. Any pro-rating probably wouldn't be as favorable as you may wish.

The number of miles a light vehicle drives has very little correlation to road wear and tear. Most damage comes from exposure to the sun, heat, freezing, and water, and time. Heavy duty commercial trucks likely cause more damage by a significant factor. But, taxing commercial vehicles their "fair share" would also drive up delivery costs, so consumers would pay at the cash register instead of the pump.

Gas taxes caught on because it was an easy way to collect funds without being too obvious they were digging in their claws.

I think it would be interesting if they eliminated taxes at the pumps and assessed a flat fee on all vehicle registrations. Can you imagine the pushback from that?
 

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I think it would be interesting if they eliminated taxes at the pumps and assessed a flat fee on all vehicle registrations. Can you imagine the pushback from that?
Can you imagine every gas station raising their prices by $0.71 over the course of the following 3 weeks? Or immediately?
 

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A Bolt weighs about the same as the average car, maybe slightly more, so weight-wise, it's just average, not a small car.

Oregon recently passed legislation to increase registration fees for electrified vehicles, EVs and PHEVs. But, Oregon will also allow a per-mile charge. A device is plugged into the port on the car (where torque pro goes) and then in-state mileage is monitored and automatically reported. It is deducted through a credit card and is seamless. The fees also seem reasonable. The next time my registration fees come up (every 2 years) I might consider it. Some people won't be comfortable with the tracking, but there might be a few cases where it could actually be useful.

I suspect that in many places, DCFC will eventually incorporate a tax to capture those out-of-state drivers. The charging tax could be eliminated for those who have a tracker.
 

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Yes. This is four weeks of prices.
Well, more to the point, when a tax break at the pump would occur, do you think that the operators would pass that on in full, if at all, to customers for very long? Maybe they would, but the cynic in me thinks it would be short lived at best.

There are plenty of dummies in government, but there are plenty of smart people too, and sometimes the best choice, I'm beginning to realize, isn't the most obvious one, and choices aren't made for the most obvious reasons. And sadly, the flat fee is probably the best we can do at the moment. I really believe that, as dumb as it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
As you have pointed out, Pennsylvania's .587/gal. gas tax is the highest in the USA. You have to drive in to Canada ( after the border re-opens) to see higher gas taxes.
A large portion of the PA gas tax goes to fund local public transit agencies, and the lion's share of that goes to SEPTA ( Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority ) which operates a large network of trains, trolleys, busses and subways in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties.
Neighboring New Jersey gives purchasers of EV's which cost less than $60,000, $5,000 cash on the hood, and further exempts them from the 7% sales tax. Delaware has no sales tax, and gives EV buyers $2,500 cash on the hood. Pennsylvania is at least going against local trends.
The extra $250 a year in registration fees for both of my cars is not going to break me. But it sends a very bad signal, because EV cars are cleaner. But they are also, for the moment, much more expensive than their gas engine equivalents. State governments should provide financial incentives for their purchase.
I suppose that with the new administration taking office on Jan. 20,2021 ( assuming that they can get the old one to move out ), the federal EV tax credits might be renewed. We shall see. Jim
 

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A Bolt weighs about the same as the average car, maybe slightly more, so weight-wise, it's just average, not a small car.

Oregon recently passed legislation to increase registration fees for electrified vehicles, EVs and PHEVs. But, Oregon will also allow a per-mile charge. A device is plugged into the port on the car (where torque pro goes) and then in-state mileage is monitored and automatically reported. It is deducted through a credit card and is seamless. The fees also seem reasonable. The next time my registration fees come up (every 2 years) I might consider it. Some people won't be comfortable with the tracking, but there might be a few cases where it could actually be useful.

I suspect that in many places, DCFC will eventually incorporate a tax to capture those out-of-state drivers. The charging tax could be eliminated for those who have a tracker.
If I am allowed to link that OBD adapter to my phone and run Torque Pro, I think we have a deal. :)
 

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Actually, if you look at the state gas tax rate (e.g. Indiana = $0.46 / gallon).
And see how many gallons would be equivalent to your EV flat tax ($150 / $0.46) = 326 gallons
At 30MPG that is 9,782 miles / year equivalent.
So if you drive more than that you are actually getting a bargain.

In places where the gas tax is lower (e.g. Kansas = $0.24 / gallon), you are getting ripped off because it would be the equivalent of driving 20,000 miles / year.

I don't know if Kansas actually has an EV tax but it was just an example.
Since I average 12,000 miles a year in Indiana. I am paying a little less tax than the average driver of 12,000 miles.
 
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