As expected, last week Georgia’s legislature passed a highway funding bill that not only eliminates the state’s $5,000 tax credit for EV purchases (effective July 1), but imposes a yearly user fee – $200 for personal vehicles and $300 for commercial EVs.
Other states have introduced, or are considering, fees for EV drivers, but Georgia’s is the highest in the nation, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It’s also higher than what most drivers of legacy vehicles pay in gas taxes. Green Car Reports calculates that a Georgia resident who drives 15,000 miles per year would pay $165 in gas taxes (at $0.275 per gallon).
“The user fee is really arbitrary and punitive,” said Brionte McCorkle, a spokesperson for Sierra Club Georgia. “When we asked Representative Jay Roberts [the author of HB 170] how he arrived at 200 dollars, he said that the average driver pays 85 dollars per year in gas taxes. He said he took that, doubled it, and rounded up.”
Adding insult to injury, the legislature slipped a tax break for Mercedes employees into the bill at the last minute. Mercedes-Benz North America is in the process of relocating from New Jersey to Georgia. Under the new law, employees who lease cars from the company will be exempt from the state’s standard car tax. The tax break will cost Georgia’s state and local governments about $1.3 million a year, according to the Fiscal Research Center of Georgia State University.
The legislation now goes to Governor Nathan Deal, who is expected to sign.
Sources: Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Green Car Reports, AP, Atlanta Progressive News