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NC electric car drivers starting to pay $100 annual fee

RALEIGH — The state Division of Motor Vehicles has begun collecting a new $100 annual fee from the owners of all-electric cars, and Nissan Leaf driver Phil Bardsley is fine with that.

“I think it’s fair,” said Bardsley, 61, of Chapel Hill. “Roads need to be maintained, and I use the roads. I think I should be paying to maintain them.”

But he may be in the minority among North Carolina drivers of Leafs, Teslas and other plug-in cars that run entirely on electricity. Among a few dozen who commented last spring when legislators were debating the fee, many cited the environmental benefits of cars that produce zero tailpipe emissions.

They warned that the new fee will discourage more drivers from getting rid of their gas-guzzling, exhaust-belching cars.

“I still don’t feel like it’s a great idea, because it sends the wrong message,” Sarah Broome of Durham, 48, who also drives a Leaf, said Friday. “It reflects poorly on our air-pollution problems. I think it’s encouraging people to stay away from electric cars and hybrids.”

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