As you read earlier this week, the state of Illinois wants motorists to pay up. Big time. A new proposal that stands a good chance of passing into law not only more than doubles the state’s gas tax, it would also hit electric vehicle drivers with an annual $1,000 fee — a bill for adding wear and tear to the state’s roads and bridges while depriving state coffers of sweet, sweet gas tax revenue.
Some EV drivers are not what you’d call “happy” about it. But are you?
Twenty-four U.S. states already levy some sort of fee on EV drivers, designed to make up, in a small way, for what their drivers aren’t spending at the pumps. Ohio, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia ding EV owners $200 a year; other states see fees ranging from $50 (Colorado, Wyoming) to $100 (California) and $150 (Washington). The Northeast seems completely exempt from such fees, and it is there you’ll still find some rebates offered by state governments or participating utilities.
Elsewhere, perks exist for EV buyers — from the federal tax credit that’s already halved for Tesla and General Motors vehicles, to pretty much blanket HOV lane access, assuming such a lane exists anywhere near your home.
As electric vehicle sales struggle to rise above the current 1 percent (or so) take rate, incentives are drying up at a growing pace. One can imagine how ownership costs might change in five years’ time, when greater U.S. EV uptake (born of a Euro-centric product surge) leads more states to start looking at Illinois’ tactics, assuming the bill passes.
Upstream emissions aside, EVs are clean in operation. You’ll never get a whiff of one, and their missing tailpipes are cause for celebration if climate change ranks high on your list of concerns. Now, put yourself in the governor’s mansion. Is this debatable virtuousness enough reason for EV owners to side-step paying into the road budget, or would you make like Illinois and try to recoup every last lost penny?
Sound off in the comments.