Oppose: HB 209-Vehicle Registration Fee Revisions (Rep. Kay Christofferson)
This bill would substantially increase annual fees for electric, plug-in electric, and hybrid passenger vehicles. The fees for an electric vehicle would increase to $300 (from $120), to $260 for a plug-in electric vehicle (from $52), and to $50 for gasoline hybrids (from $20).
Problems With HB 209 Include:
Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, making them a key solution to Utah’s climate and air quality challenges. These fees will discourage electric vehicle use!
HB 209 would be the highest fees on Electric Vehicles in the Nation: Our review of the National Conference of State Legislature’s website finds that HB 209 would make Utah the state with the highest fees on electric vehicles, likely deterring Utah customers from purchasing an EV at a time when EVs represent a small share of the vehicles on the road (less than 2% of new car sales in Utah). Recent research from University of California-UC Davis shows that fees are likely to deter new customers from purchasing an electric car. We should not be discouraging electric vehicle adoption at a time that this market is just taking off.
Electric Vehicle Do Pay their “Fair Share” for Roads: An argument for the fees is that electric vehicles do not pay their “fair share” for state transportation via gas taxes. Electric vehicles do in fact pay for road maintenance, and they also pay local taxes on electricity that go to local budgets for services. In fact, the existing $120 additional annual fee that electric vehicle fees are required to pay is already higher than the estimate that Consumer Reports calculated for what the highest justifiable fee for electric vehicles would be (between $90 and $100). The notion that EVs, plug-in hybrids, and gas hybrids do not pay their “fair share” of state transportation funding is not correct.
Let’s find real fixes to our transportation funding problems: The major driver of our national transportation funding gap is not because of electric vehicles, and slapping arbitrary fees on electric vehicles won’t fill it. It has been driven primarily by the failure to index gasoline taxes to inflation and the fact that the average vehicle is getting more efficient. In fact, Consumers Reports found recently that EV fees will generate just a small fraction of state highway funding revenue by 2025. Charging drivers for actual miles driven through road usage charges may help to address these issues, but in order to truly meet our need to reduce auto emissions, reduce congestion, and fund fast and equitable public transportation options, we need to think bigger.