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USA: Lawmakers Considering Fees on Electric Cars

Owning an electric car in Texas could become more expensive under one proposal being considered by state lawmakers to raise money for road construction.

Increasing registration fees on owners of electric cars like the Nissan Leaf is “one of the options on the table,” according to state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, who was vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee last legislative session.

Various transportation-minded lawmakers have said they are set on finding a reliable stream of revenue for transportation this session. Most of the current funding comes from the 38.4 cents in state and federal taxes Texans pay per gallon of gas, an amount that has not been raised in 20 years and has failed to keep up with inflation and the increasing fuel efficiency of new vehicles.

While many states offer tax incentives for people to purchase energy-efficient vehicles like hybrids and electric cars, lawmakers in several states have proposed levying special fees on owners of some such vehicles. The theory is that those drivers are not paying enough to support the state’s network of roads because they rarely buy gas.

“I think we need to make sure that electric vehicles that tear up our roads pay their fair share,” Darby said. “Should we have the same registration fee for fuel-burning vehicles as electric vehicles?”
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