Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Helping Country and Environment, Not Good Enough

     In the State of Washington where politicians rule, (as an online poker player I can tell you, it's the only state where you can't even get on a poker site) electric cars with their non emissions and ability to travel solely on domestic energy just isn't good enough.

     Washington state Legislature is considering Senate Bill 5251.  If passed, a flat $100 annual surcharge will be imposed on all street-legal electric vehicles in the state.  The Washington DOT estimates with the states gas tax of 37.5 cents per gallon someone who drives 12,000 miles a year pays on average $204 in state gas taxes.

     "It's a matter of fairness", said Mary Margaret Haugen, lead sponsor of the bill and Senate Transportation Committee Chairwoman.  "Electric cars will be driving on the highways right along with all the other cars. One of our biggest issues is preservation and maintenance of our existing highways.  We believe they should be paying their fair share."

     Jeff Finn, a volunteer serving as the legislative-issues coordinator for the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association, said he opposes the bill. "I don't believe it's fair and equitable."  His association is recommending a tax on electric cars based on miles traveled, adding that such a tax would most likely be less expensive than the current proposal.

     It's not clear if the bill can make it out of the Senate, or how it would fare in the House.  A similar measure died in the Senate last year but Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, said she likes the idea.  "I definitely support it," said Clibborn, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee. "This isn't a big fee. It's enough to say they are doing their part."

     The state budget office projects the number of electric vehicles will increase from 1,800 today to more than 8,900 by 2016.

     If the fee is approved, the governor's budget office says it would bring in around $400,000 in 2013 and $1.9 million by the 2015-17 state budget cycle. The proposed Washington Department of Transportation budget for the next two years is $6.9 billion.  The bill is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in the Senate Transportation Committee.

     We here at The Chevy Volt Blog will let you know how it turns out.  Who knows, this could have ramifications for the rest of the Union.


  1. I think any kind of road tax should wait just a little bit longer, I mean we already pay taxes in our electric bills. I guess at some point however, you do need to get electric drivers fair share of maintenance bills. It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

  2. Well The Man has been comfortable the last 100 years getting his extra $$$ from the gas tax and now sees the times they may be a changin so he better get ahead of this thing and figure a way to tax those darn quiet, non-poluting, domestic energy using people movers!

    Good job John. I was aware of the story but your delivery definitely has more style than what's on GM-Volt right now. Keep a-going!

    silently in #135 (you get it ...)

  3. John@TheChevyVoltBlogFebruary 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    I think I get it Book.. is 135 your VIN? If so awesome.

  4. There's nothing free in this world! Mwahahaha!

  5. Residents in Western Washington State, I being one, pay the second highest gas prices per gallon of any state in the entire Union. This is not due to long distances travelled to transport oil - as in Hawaii, home of the nation's highest priced gas ( also HI has extremely unreasonable laws making foreign oil hit U.S. shores before being re-loaded onto American ships and sent to Hawaii ).

    Today a check of Seattle area gas prices showed them equal to or slightly higher than in Los Angelas! CNN reported this morning that the national per gallon average price was $3.17. The average for my neighborhood: $3.57! Not due to taxation either - it's an interesting read, and hard to pin down all the reasons. Of the four refineries that service Western Washington State, there are only two distributors. The price fixing is based largely upon whim and property values in a said neighborhood. Independent gas station owners can't compete with large franchisees who set the price for that neighborhood. Distributors have a basic monopoly here - worst in the USA.

    Top that off with an extremely liberal/progressive mindset, and contrast that with the governor of Wisconsin, now fighting progressives who feel private citizens should pay a federal income tax, a state income tax and a union worker tax. Washington State's brand of liberal " tax and spend " says another tax on the consumer is just the ticket. While other states are writing up tax incentives for EV drivers, WA will " lead the way " to a penalty.

    Before any "fairness" logic should come into play in Olympia, perhaps Governor Gregoire should consider breaking up the non-competitive price gouging of the petroleum distributors! Everyone in WA state is taking a beating - might as beat up the people riding bicycles to work with a pedaling tax - or possibly people breathing air with an oxygen tax.

    Volt drivers use gas. This very fact in itself should exempt any owner of a user tax.

    James - T.T.P. ( Tired Tax Payer )

  6. Gas taxes are used exclusively for road construction, maintenance and related infra-structure. Those who drive electric cars should pay their fair share for these costs. No? Before, some whine about gas/road tax educate yourself how these gas/road taxes etc are used by states. Roads can't be built without $?

  7. Anonymous says, "Gas taxes are used exclusively for road construction, maintenance and related infra-structure."

    I don't think this is true across the board. Here in CT, gas tax money goes into the General Fund and then gets distributed from there on a needed basis.
    If we collect $100 million dollars in gas tax and only $75 million is needed for the roads, the other $25 million is going elsewhere. I don't believe any State is as adept at wasting money like Connecticut is.