Utah state senator, Kevin Van Tassell (R) has raised a controversial topic by proposing a fee to owners of hybrid and electric cars to make up for the lesser gas taxes they pay. “What’s going to happen with electric cars, hybrid cars, that are getting excellent mileage? How do they pay their share of maintaining and building of infrastructure,” he was quoted as saying.
Historically gas taxes have been an important source of state revenue. But should electric cars be paying for the roads if they are not contributing to pollution ? After all, those gas guzzlers are paying for the roads but not paying for the pollution they create.
But while the debate is on in the United States to decide if EVs should be taxed, the rest of the world –Europe, China and India included – are giving credits and rebates to encourage people to use low-emissions cars.
It seems to us that disincentivizing, rather than incentivizing, electric cars could throw America behind the curve again in its car-technology development. (Recall the US government bailouts of GM and Chrysler.) The risk we see is that the United States will be importing electric cars from China…. just like it is importing solar panels today.
And if car sharing ventures like the buzzcar really take off in all the major cities and reduce the number of cars and gasoline consumption by 40%, then are we looking at a whole new tax scheme ?