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Oregon, Wash Consider Road Taxes For Electric Cars

Washington and Oregon lawmakers are taking a hard look at whether to impose the equivalent of a gas tax on plug-in cars. Some electric car enthusiasts argue an alternative road use fee is premature.


In a nutshell, here’s the dilemma. The gas tax pays for the upkeep of the roads. But fully electric cars don’t ever stop at the gas pump.

Oregon Republican state senator Bruce Starr is one of many lawmakers unwilling to give electric cars a free ride.

Bruce Starr: “Individuals that drive on our roads ought to pay for their use of that infrastructure, the use of that system. Every user of the highway system pays their fair share.”

The Oregon and Washington Legislatures have different concepts for how electric car owners should chip in. A pending measure in Olympia would assess a flat $100 annual license surcharge.

Meanwhile, Oregon legislators took testimony on an odometer tax specifically for owners of plug-in cars. They would pay 0.6 cents per mile driven starting in 2014.

Electric car advocates oppose a targeted tax at this time. They argue it would be a disincentive to breaking the nation’s dependence on oil.


On the Web:

Electric Vehicle Road Tax proposals:

Oregon’s potential mileage tax (HB 2328)

Washington’s flat fee (SB 5251)

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