How to fund roads and ensure electric vehicles pay their share

Posted: January 6, 2019 by oldbrew in government, Travel

Why not just drop the fuel taxes and have every private car user pay mileage fees, maybe based on vehicle weight?

Since electric vehicles use no gasoline, their drivers pay no gasoline tax.

And as more people drive EVs, gas-tax revenue for road repairs is dwindling, says

So how can California and the rest of the country avoid road-funding shortfalls and ensure that EV drivers pay their share of needed repairs?

A research report submitted to the California Legislature this week by the University of California, Davis’ Institute of Transportation Studies proposes an innovative solution: Switch EVs to a mileage fee while continuing to have gasoline-powered cars pay gasoline taxes.

Gas tax or mileage fee?

Many states, including California, have opted for the easy way out—charging an extra registration fee for electric vehicles. But that is not a sustainable or effective solution, according to report author Alan Jenn, a UC Davis research scientist with the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center.

“The California zero-emissions vehicle registration fee doesn’t support the long-run funding of transportation infrastructure, nor is it equitable for drivers of electric and hydrogen vehicles,” said Jenn.

Others argue that the gas tax must be replaced by a mileage-based fee as soon as possible to avert increasing shortfalls in road funding. But switching from the gas tax to a mileage fee would be technically and administratively difficult.

“California now has the opportunity to support alternative funding mechanisms,” Jenn said. “Our study finds that a per-mile road charge, designed specifically for zero-emission vehicles, is a relatively low-cost and sustainable solution to funding our roads.”

Continued here.

  1. ivan says:

    Rather than a mileage tax, just reduce the green tax on fuel and add a green tax to the electricity used to charge the electric cars (at home it is added to the electric bill via the meter used for charging and at the charging stations it is deducted from the credit card at time of purchase – simple). Something like that is too simple for the greens to understand, besides which it doesn’t fit their idea of utopia.

  2. Gamecock says:

    There is no requirement that government expenditures must be covered by revenues from fees related to the expenditure. E.g., there is no fee for the military.

    If one wishes to have it for road transport, they could have taxes on tires, another consumable in transport. Some will wince at a thousand bucks for a tire, but perhaps it would be better letting people know directly what they are paying, rather than the sneaky, hidden gasoline tax.

  3. oldbrew says:

    The public are already paying for hefty EV subsidies and some charging points, even those who don’t own a car at all.

    UK EV owners are also exempt from road fund licence charge (annual fee for owners) as low or zero CO2 ’emitters’.

    And we’ve seen that some businesses are using plug-in hybrids to get a tax break and running on fuel anyway.

  4. markesommer says:

    Gasoline taxes are not hidden, they are posted on the gas pump in my state in the USA. About 2 cents per mile. Easy enough to add to registration fees when getting stickers for licence plates. Just require milage to be recorded for registration like it is for transfer of title.

  5. J Martin says:

    A tax based purely on mileage would penalise careful drivers and allow drivers who accelerate hard etc, to not pay for their fare share, as they can use twice as much energy as gentler drivers. So they should be taxed on electricity used ideally.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    Since the heavier the vehicle the more damage to the road surface, just base the registration on vehicle weight. That means those heavy batteries will incur a surcharge, as will all those SUV’s. An exemption (or different category) for trucks (as essential)?

  7. oldbrew says:

    J Martin – by mileage we mean distance covered, not fuel consumption (which doesn’t apply to EVs anyway of course).

  8. Bitter@twisted says:

    An annual “Battery Tax” is the best way forwards.
    Set at £5000 per year.

  9. Dodgy Geezer says:

    A mileage tax is likely to mean that a Government Department is monitoring your car’s position at all times.

    So there are privacy concerns here….

  10. Gamecock says:

    ‘Gasoline taxes are not hidden, they are posted on the gas pump in my state in the USA. About 2 cents per mile.’

    Your units of measure dismiss what you say.

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    and another bureaucracy rises up to consume 97% of the tax take on that method. I like the suggestion of a point of sale (/charge) tax. All EV charging stations have an EV tax added at time of charging the batteries. It’s easy enough to do. Just put a meter on the charging station just like the gasoline pumps. Then put a massive fraud charge on anyone trying to bypass it from the house electricity source. The tax is added to the price charged to the customers just like gasoline.

  12. A crazy idea.
    A tax on fuel used by vehicles is an ideal tax as it is very cheap to collect and the tax varies with use made of the vehicle.
    It is far a better guide to the impact of the vehicle as fuel used, and thus the tax, increases by factors other than just the crude measure of miles travelled. Fuel and the tax will increase if the vehicle is inefficient or badly mainatined, if the vehicle is heavier, if it is used on short journeys that could easily be walked, if the driver goes fast, and in particular it increases with congestion.
    If they are worried about electric vehicles avoiding fuel tax, then the first thing that they should do is to remove the subsidies and exemptions for electric vehicles.