State looking to stick some EV drivers with yearly $200 fee, and for good reason

After years of Democrats sticking it to gas-powered automobile drivers, Republicans are now sticking it to electric vehicle drivers, albeit for what appears to be a good reason.

Late last month, the Texas Senate passed a bill that would impose a yearly fee on electric vehicle drivers. This past week, the Texas House reportedly passed a revised version of the bill, thus sending it to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican.

“The latest version of the bill lays out a $200 yearly registration fee for electric vehicles, with exceptions carved out for slow ‘Neighborhood Electric Vehicles,’ as well as autocycles, mopeds and motorcycles. The bill states that the resulting fees ‘must be deposited to the credit of the state highway fund,'” as reported by Tech Crunch.

And so only big electric vehicles like Teslas would be fined.

According to the bill’s author, Republican state Sen. Robert Nichols, the goal of the bill is to make things fair. As it stands, right now electric vehicle drivers drive for free, in that they don’t have to pay for gas. And that, according to Nichols, is unfair.

“As more of these vehicles drive on Texas roads, there are concerns about how they contribute to the funding of the roads which they use,” he wrote in comments about the legislation, according to local station station KXAN.

“Currently, Texas uses the gasoline/diesel fuel tax to fund transportation projects; however, with the growing use of EVs, the revenue from the fuel tax is decreasing, which diminishes our ability to fund road improvements for all drivers,” he added.

The bill has predictably stirred up some pushback from EV owners who use Twitter:

Notice how one critic threatened to move to another state. Keep in mind Texas isn’t the only state with an EV tax. Mind you, its particular tax is “on the high end, matching only Georgia,” according to Tech Crunch.

Environmental and consumer protection groups have also been crying foul over Nichols’ attempt to even things out and make them fairer.

In a statement to local station KRLD, Environment Texas director Luke Metzger said the $200 fee is punitive and “will make it harder for Texans to afford these clean vehicles which are so critical to reducing air pollution in Texas.”

Now, keep in mind that EVs are already exorbitant and thus only really available to the wealthy, to begin with. That’s why President Joe Biden has faced so much backlash for promising Americans they can lower costs by buying an EV — because most Americans can’t afford the EV itself to begin with.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports also called the fee “punitive” and argued in a statement that the fee should be more around $71, not $200.

“As EVs continue to grow in popularity and consumers gain interest in accessing cost-effective technology, states need to consider alternative strategies to address the issue of decreasing gas-tax revenues to fund roads and highways,” CR policy analyst Dylan Jaff said, according to Fox Business Network.

“Consumers should not be punished for choosing a cleaner, greener car that saves them money on fuel and maintenance. 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,” he added.

Yet despite all the criticism, there are admittedly still plenty of Twitter users, some of them EV drivers themselves, who’ve have voiced support for the Texas bill on the grounds that it’s ultimately fair:

“ICE” in this context is short for an internal-combustion engine.


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Vivek Saxena


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