Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a legislative proposal into law on May 13 that will make all electric vehicle (EV) owners in the state responsible for paying a $200 annual fee, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The law, which will take effect on Sept. 1, will also require new electric vehicle (EV) owners to pay a one-time fee of $400 to register their cars in addition to the $200 yearly toll.
The aim of the new law is to recoup some of the tax money the state has lost through EV owners not purchasing pricey gasoline.
For example, since a Tesla doesn’t run on gas, its owner won’t pay the typical taxes that the owner of a gas-fueled car does when stopping at the pump.
Texas uses these fees for road and highway repairs and sometimes for school improvement.
The state already has over 200,000 EVs on the road, with more than 30,000 EVs added this year, meaning the bill will garner around $38 million per year for the state’s highway repair fund, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Why is the bill important?
EVs are beneficial to the planet and to consumers because they slash gas bills, reduce air and noise pollution, and produce less planet-overheating gas pollution. Some fear this new bill will disincentivize Texas residents from purchasing EVs.
UT-Austin transportation engineering professor Kara Kockelman told KVUE that the bill is indicative of Texas’ full support for the oil and gas industry.
“Texas is really behind the curve on trying to do the right thing by the environment. And so, that’s embarrassing, I think, for all of us,” she said.
Consumer Reports suggested that the price of Abbott’s new annual fee of $200 is too high. The company found that a fee of $71 would be the “maximum justifiable EV fee” in Texas.
Consumer Reports policy analyst Dylan Jaff also said that the bill does not solve the gap in funding road work.
“Consumers should not be punished for choosing a cleaner, greener car that saves them money on fuel and maintenance,” he said in a release. “The fees proposed in this bill will establish an inequitable fee scale for EV owners and will not provide a viable solution to the long-standing issue of road funding revenue.”
What’s being done about bills like this?
MYEV.com listed at least 18 U.S. states other than Texas that charge EV owners annual fees, ranging from $50 to $200 per year. If your state is considering charging EV owners fees, contact your local representatives and let your voice be heard.
To soften the blow of any potential EV fees — including the sticker price — consider looking into tax breaks and incentives for EV purchases in your state.
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