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Discussion Starter #1
I just caught up on Ohio news and learned that the state just put a new gas tax increase into effect July 1. What really caught my attention though was that the $0.105 per gal increase (to $0.385) is also accompanied by an additional annual fee of $100 for hybrids and $200 for PHEV/BEVs. Ouch! I get the need to increase gas taxes to accommodate inflation, etc. But my first reaction was that this seems to be penalizing Hybrid/PHEV/BEV owners. I see a lot of back and forth online, and a lot of math that didn't make sense, so I decided to crunch the numbers myself.

Ignoring a bunch of other assumptions regarding fairness and impact (climate, pollution, weight of vehicle, etc), let's assume everyone drives the same weight vehicle 15,000 miles per year. Do the math (per year):

20 mpg Pacifica - $289
30 mpg car - $193
50 mpg hybrid - $215
30 mpg PacHy 50% electric miles - $258
BEV 100% electric miles - $200

The best option (tax wise) now becomes to buy the most efficient non-hybrid you can find. Next best, buy a full EV. PHEV gets penalized the most (even a 50 MPG PHEV). All of this changes based on your specific situation though. If you don't drive much, PHEV and BEV get even worse. If you drive a PHEV, you should maximize your electric miles. Similarly, for a BEV, the more you drive, the better it gets ($/mile). At 20,000 miles per year, both the hybrid and BEV are better than a 30 MPG model. The PHEV still falls short though, unless you do better than 50% electric miles.

Again, none of this takes into account the other, IMO, important considerations, but it does reveal some interesting ramifications.

YMMV
 

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Why not tax 1/2 ton to 1 ton pick ups with huge tires on them....lol....I have to say, any excuse for a new tax or tax hike is the ideology here .
 

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I don't understand the sense of shock and unfairness expressed in the OP. Worse case, as presented in the OP, the fee represents about $5.50 per month in added cost for driving some variation of electric powered vehicle. Does this amount put into question the whole value of owning a BEV, PHEV or hybrid as the OP implies? The OP does reference some of the offsetting benefits but the focus is on the annual fee.

Hybrids, PHEV's and BEV's currently benefit significantly from government subsidies (federal and state) to encourage consumers to buy them. There are also other benefits such as the use of HOV lanes, preferred parking in some places and even some free charging stations. These are all good things. We need to reduce pollution generated by cars and the subsidies help develop alternate technologies that the current market place cannot do on its own.

Funding highway construction and maintenance is a different animal. Roads and bridges have to be maintained based on usage regardless of the source of power for the vehicles moving over them. Our current funding source is a fuel tax. Although not perfect, this approach makes sense. Drive more or drive a heavier vehicle, you will use more fuel and therefore pay more into the highway fund. The increase in overall vehicle fuel mileage reduces revenue without reducing highway usage so the government must increase the tax rate to compensate. BEV's use no fuel and PHEV's have the potential to use very little fuel to no fuel. Is it fair that these vehicles pay nothing or next to nothing for their use of the highway? I don't think so.

The annual fee for Hybrids, PHEV's and BEV's is a necessary thing and it is time to get it in place. Eventually (hopefully), the percentage of alternative fuel vehicles will increase. It will not be practical to have the fossil fuel burners carry the entire highway maintenance burden. The annual fee is one approach. Another might be to place a tax on the electricity used to charge vehicles but that has its own problems.
 

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You could come to Illinois where we jacked the gas tax $0.19 per gallon with an annual CPI rachet. All electric vehicles registration went to $248 based on the reasoning the they ues the roads and should pay for such. PHEV and Hybrids are $150 per year like gassers.
 

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Road wear scales as the fourth power of axle weight. I had a discussion with the HI DOT about their new road use fee pilot program and they agreed that basically all road wear comes from trucks (real trucks, not pickups) because of their weight. Everything else is in the noise. If you want drivers to pay for the road wear they incur, they should be charged something that scales with miles driven and with the fourth power of weight. And that would effectively lead to it being free for everyone except truck drivers. (A semi-truck causes about 31,000 times more road wear than a compact car.)

Road *construction* (as opposed to maintenance) has to be funded some way though.
 

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What perplexes me is why high fuel mileage vehicles that are not battery assisted do not have a surcharge, as well. The whole point of these surcharges is that vehicles that do not use as much gas as other, low fuel mileage vehicles (you know, bro-dozers, full-size SUVs and the like) need to pay their fair-share, too.

So, shouldn't annual vehicle registration be based on some sort of sliding scale where the lowest fuel mileage gas-guzzlers pay less (if anything) than higher fuel mileage vehicles that use much less gas?

IOW, in the grand scheme of things, both gas-guzzlers and fuel-sippers would pay exactly the same in annual combined fuel costs/registration fees, all in the name of the state having sufficient funds to maintain streets and roads.

Personally, I think the surcharges on battery-assisted vehicles are a crock, done primarily in a political effort to make the increases in gas taxes more palatable to non-battery drivers. Simply put, the increase in gas taxes can be blamed on the battery vehicle drivers.

It's worth noting how miniscule the percentage of battery-assested vehicles are owned in most states. Does anyone really think the amount generated by those surcharges are going to have a major impact on making up any road construction shortfalls?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't understand the sense of shock and unfairness expressed in the OP. Worse case, as presented in the OP, the fee represents about $5.50 per month in added cost for driving some variation of electric powered vehicle. Does this amount put into question the whole value of owning a BEV, PHEV or hybrid as the OP implies? The OP does reference some of the offsetting benefits but the focus is on the annual fee.

Hybrids, PHEV's and BEV's currently benefit significantly from government subsidies (federal and state) to encourage consumers to buy them. There are also other benefits such as the use of HOV lanes, preferred parking in some places and even some free charging stations. These are all good things. We need to reduce pollution generated by cars and the subsidies help develop alternate technologies that the current market place cannot do on its own.

Funding highway construction and maintenance is a different animal. Roads and bridges have to be maintained based on usage regardless of the source of power for the vehicles moving over them. Our current funding source is a fuel tax. Although not perfect, this approach makes sense. Drive more or drive a heavier vehicle, you will use more fuel and therefore pay more into the highway fund. The increase in overall vehicle fuel mileage reduces revenue without reducing highway usage so the government must increase the tax rate to compensate. BEV's use no fuel and PHEV's have the potential to use very little fuel to no fuel. Is it fair that these vehicles pay nothing or next to nothing for their use of the highway? I don't think so.

The annual fee for Hybrids, PHEV's and BEV's is a necessary thing and it is time to get it in place. Eventually (hopefully), the percentage of alternative fuel vehicles will increase. It will not be practical to have the fossil fuel burners carry the entire highway maintenance burden. The annual fee is one approach. Another might be to place a tax on the electricity used to charge vehicles but that has its own problems.
I'm not saying that I think the registration fee is wrong per se, in fact in some cases the advantage is to the BEV/PHEV. My shock, as I said, was my initial gut reaction - hence I decided to run the numbers to get around the commentary I had seen so far. After running the numbers, I see the merit in it. My focus on the fee itself was to avoid the complexities of all of the other potential factors. Perhaps I should have more clearly stated something to the effect of "evaluating the problem as ONLY a cost per mile driven the relative impacts are..."

I whole heatedly agree with later posters that the "most fair" method would be a combination of vehicle weight and mileage - again only focusing on road damage and no other factors.

Finally, in general, drivers have not been paying their "fair share" for road use for a long time. Any increase in road use taxes, while individually painful, are necessary. We can't charge 1990s fees and pay for 2020 repairs.
 
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