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.