North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles has begun collecting a new $100 annual fee from EV owners. As Charged discussed in our June 2013 issue, many states are planning, or discussing, new taxes on EVs. Road construction and maintenance are largely financed by fuel taxes, and collections are declining as drivers around the country switch to more fuel-efficient models.
Reaction to the new tax was mixed, as the News & Observer reported. “I think it’s fair,” said Chapel Hill LEAF driver Phil Bardsley. “Roads need to be maintained, and I use the roads. I think I should be paying to maintain them.”
Other LEAF owners disagreed. “It sends the wrong message. It reflects poorly on our air-pollution problems. I think it’s encouraging people to stay away from electric cars and hybrids,” said Sarah Broome of Durham.
“These things are very good for the environment. I’m not contributing to the (cost of) the concrete roadbed, but I’m not contributing to the pollution, either,” said Jules Coco of Cary.
So far, there are about 1,600 EVs registered in the Tar Heel State (hybrids and PHEVs are not subject to the new tax). Projected collections from the fee won’t do much to fill the gap between the state’s transportation needs and expected gas tax revenue, which is expected to grow to $60 billion over the next 30 years. Legislators and DOT officials will be airing ideas this year for generating more transportation money.
“Since they use the road, it seems equitable to have electric cars make some contribution to the DOT fund,” said Sen. Neal Hunt of Raleigh. “Whether we’ll go farther than that, I’m not sure. But we absolutely need to find a way, ultimately, to get some additional revenues.”
Source: News & Observer