WSJ: More States Charge Fees for Electric Vehicles

Scott Calvert
The Wall Street Journal
March 28, 2020

More states are imposing special registration fees on electric vehicles, sparking complaints that the levies undermine efforts to get consumers to embrace alternative-fuel cars.

Twenty-eight states charge from $50 to more than $200 a year for plug-in electric cars, and 14 states have annual fees for plug-in hybrids that also use gasoline, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. The fees are meant to make up for the fact that electric-vehicle owners don’t buy gas and thus don’t pay gas taxes that states rely on for road work. The fees are generally in addition to standard vehicle registration fees.

“There was practically no fee in place just a few years ago, and we’ve seen this massive growth,” said Kristy Hartman, NCSL’s energy program director.

In 2019, plug-in vehicles made up just 2% of U.S. sales, or about 330,000 cars and trucks out of about 17 million overall. But officials are preparing for a future when a far higher share of drivers won’t be fueling up at the pump, Ms. Hartman said.

To promote electric-vehicle purchases, a majority of states offer hefty tax incentives and other perks.

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