- Photo by Martin Katler (@martinkatler)

California and 7 other states to implement EV fees in 2020

California accounts for around 50% of all EV sales today

42w ago

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2020 is just a few days away, and as per usual, so are new laws and regulations that determine what fees you'll pay to register a car. In the state of California, car owners are required to re-up their registration every year. In 2017, a new bill was passed that added an additional cost to the registration of your vehicle based on its fair market value; as low as $25 for vehicles under $5,000 and as high as $175 for vehicles worth over $60,000. While that part of the bill went into effect in 2018, there's another fee coming in 2020. Starting July 1st, 2020, owners of Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs) will have to pay an ADDITIONAL $100 a year to keep their cars on the road. Seven other states (HI, OR, AL, KS, UT, IA, and OH) are also implementing EV registration fees at the turn of the year.

Why fees on EVs?

Photo by Roberto Nickson

Photo by Roberto Nickson

State governments have argued that because EVs don't run on gasoline, they are losing the revenue from gas taxes used to maintain roads. Since EVs use the same roads as gasoline vehicles. they have proposed a blanket tax on registration. While this registration tax does help make up the revenue lost, it may be unfair to those who don't use their vehicle much.

Other solutions have been proposed, such as a pay per mile or a pay per kW system. Pay per mile would work by checking the odometer at registration whereas a pay per kW would work identically to how gas taxes work; you're taxed per mile that the energy consumed would provide you. Out of the two, I think the odometer method would work the best and would be the least intrusive to your personal information. Oregon and Utah are the only 2 states that have proposed a per-mile alternative out of the 8 implementing fees in 2020.

The push-back

Consumer Reports did an analysis on the current and proposed EV fees compared to the average cost for gasoline powered vehicles and found that several states have implemented charges that would cost EV drivers MORE than if they drove a gasoline vehicle. These fees have real potential to curb the adoption of EVs and some might suggest that these high fees are the product of special interest lobbying to keep consumers from switching to electric vehicles. Personally I think these measures were put in place without much thought and should be reconsidered.

What do you think?

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Comments (156)

  • The rationale is sound, EVs are road users too and should pay into the funding for maintaining the infrastructure and traditionally that's partly from taxes on gasoline. I don't think the way this is going to be implemented makes sense though.

      9 months ago
    • Agreed (eventually there should be a fee) though it’d be great to keep incentives up for a while, nothing like premature fees to disincentivize and reduce momentum. In the meantime , we’d be best to tax gas vehicles further to encourage...

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        9 months ago
    • Larger incentives/tax breaks should be available to encourage EV adoption, similar to the tax breaks for making energy efficient home improvements. But in my opinion any fees or taxes to recoup the road use part of the equation should...

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        9 months ago
  • Just another reason not to buy a limited range laptop on wheels.

      9 months ago
    • A "limited range laptop on wheels" nearly has the same capacity as an average car at a fraction of the cost of operation. They also have fewer moving parts so inherently fixes are not only simpler but cheaper too.

        9 months ago
    • You’re so right, much better to suck on an exhaust than try to transition to cleaner solutions. Why would boomers care about pollution , they’ll be dead in a decade or two anyway.

        9 months ago
  • Thought the point of ev's is to save the environment and whatnot. Why punish the people who buy into that sort of thing.

      9 months ago
    • That was my thought exactly. That's why I included the lobbying and special in

        9 months ago
    • Basically things have to be paid for. If it is not taxed directly then it is from general taxation. Really just comes down to a political view on taxation.

      Personally I think we should tax income more and usage less, mobility keeps the wheels...

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        9 months ago
  • Taxation is theft, but maybe in this case it will discourage people from buying electric cars and that's good.

      9 months ago
    • I think the adage "taxation is theft" is borne out of selfishness and misunderstanding personally. And why would you discourage electric car use?

        9 months ago
    • I earn my money, the government can go find their own no one asked for them anyway. Real cars burn dinosaurs.

        9 months ago
  • I suppose an EV license fee still ends up being cheaper when considering no fuel costs, no oil changes and very little repair cost.

      9 months ago

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