9-19-16 – Electric Vehicle User Fee

by John McClaughry

Do you ever notice that electric vehicles are using the state’s highways without paying the motor fuel tax that other highway users have to pay to maintain those highways?

The Agency of Transportation reported to the legislature on this question in 2013. The report discussed several options, and finally recommended increased registration fees for electric vehicles: $120/year for all-electric and $71/year for plug–in hybrid vehicles.

But get this qualifier: “If such a registration fee option is adopted it would serve to effectively remove this incentive for the purchase or lease of electric vehicles “– that is, the incentive of not paying motor fuel taxes.

“Meanwhile, the increased use of these vehicles is an essential component of the state’s energy and environmental policy, as evidenced by their central position in the implementation of the 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan and implementation of vehicle air quality rules.”

“The authors recommend that an increased registration fee for electric vehicles only be adopted if paired with establishment of a vehicle purchase incentive program.”

So there you have it. Because of Gov. Shumlin’s Comprehensive Energy Plan – never voted on by any legislator – we can’t reduce any present incentive for electric vehicles (using the highways for free) , so if we increase the registration fee to make them pay for their use of the highways, there has to be  a new purchase subsidy to offset it.

Shumlin’s “climate change” mania supports no end of costly subsidies. It’s time to toss it overboard.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Bulmer September 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Nowhere have I seen any data on the impact on the environment caused by the amount of energy needed to generate the electritity to charge these electric autos. Further, do electric car owners pay for the charge? If there is a fee at the charging station, why not add a tax just as is done at gas stations? Or better yet dump Shumlin’s energy pipe dream.


David Usher September 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm

I favor a highway usage fee/tax not biased by the propulsion system. The use of highway infrastructure should only be based on vehicular weight and miles traveled. Of course, the devil is in the details of implementing such a system, but it should replace the tax on diesel and gasoline. The technology is available for such a system, but the privacy implications and dealing with vehicles registered elsewhere using Vermont roads are issues to be resolved.


William Hays September 25, 2016 at 5:51 pm

…but, electric cars are so cute! How ’bout the new purple one, for women only? The Obama rebate of $7,500 makes them attractive, until they have to replace the batteries, on their own dime. I wonder what AAA charges to ‘jump charge’ one of these abortions. Gott’a take a while, and be expensive, if they offer the service.


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