Tough day for EVs and PHEVs in Alabama...

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Robert_Alabama, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    Alabama passed a state gas tax bill today that included $200 per year fee for EVs and $100 per year fee for PHEVs as well as a $0.10 cent tax increase on gasoline (to $0.29 total). I have been otherwise occupied and they hadn't advertised the EV and PHEV fees, so I missed what was happening until yesterday. I sent the following email to local news outlets and had a couple of offers for interviews today, but could see that this was being fast tracked and would probably be too little too late, so I declined. I'll include the text of the note I shared in case it is of use for any other drivers in jurisdictions on a future date that might unfortunately go down the same path... by the way, only a very small percentage of the EV and PHEV fees are earmarked for charger infrastructure development...

    I thought it wouldn't hurt to let you know that the tax on the plug in hybrid vehicles is very punitive. The reason is that plug in hybrid vehicles have a low range on battery and then switch over to gasoline. I own a 2018 Honda Clarity Plug In and a 2012 Chevrolet Volt Plug In. Both have about 40 miles on the battery and then burn gasoline. They both get about 40 Miles per gallon on gasoline. So running them on gas alone for 12000 miles would burn about 300 gallons of gas per year and at $0.28/gallon tax would collect about $84 each in gasoline tax. That's if they never plugged in to use any electricity and just burned gasoline only (like a non plug in hybrid gasoline powered car). With the addition of the $100 tax on plug ins, that would go to $184 each as a tax (including the $100 fee and the $0.28/gal for gasoline) . If they run 50% electric and 50% gasoline, then they pay $100 for the hybrid penalty plus $42 for gas tax at $0.28/gallon or a total of $142. So you see that there is no way for the plug in hybrid cars not to be taxed more than they would if they were pure gasoline hybrid cars. This is incenting Alabama citizens to stay away from cleaner and higher efficiency plug in hybrids and to continue to buy gasoline only vehicles. You can argue that some of the money goes into charging infrastructure. The problem with that argument is that plug in hybrid cars don't need the charging infrastructure and most drivers don't even want it. It's just not worth the trouble on trips to try to recharge the small batteries. That's why they are plug in hybrid (they have gasoline backup to run after the small battery is depleted). I know this bill is on a very fast track. I just caught on to how badly plug in hybrids were being treated as compared to gasoline cars and looked for someone to tell. So you got the unlucky draw that I found your email. You can tell that from my owning two plug in hybrids, I believe in the technology. They are clean and efficient vehicle choices. I really don't have a problem paying some for the use of roads through a tax, but to make plug in cars pay significantly more than if they were gasoline powered doesn't make any sense to me, especially when we should be promoting newer cleaner transportation options. Plug in hybrid cars are great for city commutes where they have no emissions inside the city limits to contribute to local smog and ozone problems (especially in summer). They should be treated at least equally with gasoline alternatives, not punished as compared to them. Again, this bill has been pushed so fast that I doubt any one has taken the time to even calculate these comparisons.
    Ken7 likes this.
  2. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member

    Some states offer incentives to be environmentally friendly. Looks like Alabama’s thought process is to punish environmentalism. How ridiculously short sighted.
    Daniel M W likes this.
  3. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    I don’t know about Alabama, but here in Michigan the state gas tax is used for road maintenance and repair (among other things). As cars and trucks get more efficient and use less gas, we have to figure out a way to keep up funding. And, at this point, roads are so bad here we need to completely rebuild most secondary roads. I agree we don’t want to regressively “punish” efficiency, but I would want offer alternatives to gas taxes.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Phunny, craze1cars and Mowcowbell like this.
  4. marshall

    marshall Active Member

    Alabama needs to offer a per mile charge as an alternative. This would probably require some kind of toll reader, but as cars get more efficient, the state will need to do that anyhow.
    Mariner91 likes this.
  5. ClarityBill

    ClarityBill Active Member

    It is interesting that on electric power, the Clarity is paying no road tax. Even on gas, the Clarity is paying less road tax than my Ford van. But the weak sidewalls on the Clarity tires seem to need better roads to avoid blowouts.
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  6. Tim66

    Tim66 Active Member

    But you are paying money to the public utility that the ICE only vehicle owner isn't. Also in most states the licensing fees go to infrastructure as well.
  7. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Active Member

    I wouldn't be surprised if Oklahoma doesn't do the same thing as Alabama, although I think EV's and PHEV's are so rare here that the negative impact they have on gas tax collections is minimal.
  8. 4sallypat

    4sallypat Active Member

    Don't give CA this idea - some short sighted legislature will put a bill up.....
  9. Mark W

    Mark W Active Member

    Yes, it seems like PHEVs get hit the hardest with the tax in Alabama. That's unfortunate. They are probably thinking it's simpler to group all plugins in one category rather than separating them from BEVs. Since the volume of PHEVs is so low, maybe it makes sense.
  10. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    I submit that everyone who uses the roadways needs to pay their fair share so our transportation infrastructure can be maintained. The trick is how to do it fairly. I too oppose taxing EVs more than gasmobiles as that make no sense whatsoever.
    But as more and more EVs are sold, the traditional taxes on gasoline are going to become as useful as a tax on hay and horseshoes.
    Perhaps we need to change the model to a tax on miles driven per year adjusted for the GVW and/or number of axels. That way the larger vehicles that cause the most wear and tear and those that drive more would pay more.
    You could make it a flat tax with the first so many 1,000 (TBD) miles not counted so it’s less a burden on the poorer part of the working class that can barely afford a car. But the rub is how do you enforce this? Maybe at time of yearly registration, have the odometer checked? But that’s another layer of bureaucracy and cost. What so y’all think is a solution?
    Mowcowbell likes this.
  11. Mariner91

    Mariner91 Member

    Every State should, IMO. Maybe require annual registration be calculated based on mileage passed since prior year.
    izudin likes this.
  12. Thomas Mitchell

    Thomas Mitchell Active Member

    That just sucks. The financial incentives for owning EVs are one of the prime motivators for people to take the risk and become “early adopters”, and all EV purchases at this time can be considered made by early adopters. Most folks won’t go near one. Many others won’t if the financial incentives are removed.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Daniel M W likes this.
  13. Mariner91

    Mariner91 Member

    While I am somewhat ambivalent about the whole idea (was just commenting on Mississippi tax yesterday lol), I see some issues with your letter to local news.

    Based on your numbers, and average gas in Alabama according to gasbuddy of $2.25, a 40MPG car using up 12000 miles equals 300 gallons, for $675 dollars. On top of your PHEV tax of $100 (other tax already part of gas price) is $775 a year.

    A 20 MPG NON PHEV car using 12000 miles equals 600 gallons, for $1350 dollars; I didn't see what their registration tax will be so you can add that on

    A 30 MPG NON PHEV car using 12000 miles equals 400 gallons, for $900 dollars.

    I simply don't see how paying $100 - $200 more on taxes per year would incentivize anyone into buying a gas guzzler that would mean paying 2x more on gas alone for the same length of time. Since we're talking about a PHEV used on All HV, no calculation based on Electricity cost.

    That said, you also didn't include tax info for HV only (non Plug in) like Accord, Prius (not Prime) etc A Prius is still highest at 55 MPG, afaik, which would mean cleaner and higeST efficiency gas wise.
  14. ClarityBill

    ClarityBill Active Member

    Early adopters is a very good point: Current technology is developing and needs us lab rats to develop.

    There is a thread that included calculating the current break even for gas vs electric operation: Adding road tax to the electric side will tip that even further toward gas operation. This does indicate a basic fallacy in the EV narrative: If EV operations are so much more energy efficient, why are the true energy costs so similar?
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Michigan charges a 20% higher registration fee for electric and hybrid passenger vehicles and an additional fee in the following amounts:
    • Electric vehicles pay an added $135 (not prorated): $100 electric fee + $35 electric gasoline tax fee = $135
    • Hybrid vehicles pay an added $47 (not prorated): $30 hybrid fee + $17 hybrid gasoline tax fee = $47
    An electric vehicle is defined as one propelled solely by electrical energy and is not capable of using gasoline, diesel, or another fuel for propulsion. A hybrid vehicle is defined as one propelled at least in part by electrical energy and uses a battery storage system but is also capable of using gasoline, diesel, or another fuel to propel the vehicle.
  16. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member

    I can see both sides of this issue. Financing roads by using a gasoline tax has been a reasonable way to extract a proportional use fee ... until us troublemakers came along who still use the roads but don't buy gasoline. The imposition of a fixed fee for us is a pretty blunt instrument - everyone pays the same no matter how much they use the road. But it's simple and easy to implement, and it solves the problem of funding the roads. But it also discourages using less gasoline.

    Maybe the answer is a surcharge based on how much electricity we pump into our vehicles. Problem is that we cannot measure that as easily as the meter on a gas pump or a fixed fee for each electric vehicle.
    Mark W likes this.
  17. vin seeram

    vin seeram Member

    going by the number of miles would penalize lighter vehicles which are less hard on the roads.

    Could the electric car makers be made to report the amount the electricity the vehicle pulled in addition to miles driven? They could do the reporting as part of emissions check and prorate as needed.
  18. ClarityBill

    ClarityBill Active Member

    But these lighter vehicles 'require' less potholes, better roads, and higher road maintenance cost. The big pickups don't care if the road is paved...

    If this was easy, the politicians would have it done.
  19. Al-clarity

    Al-clarity New Member

  20. leehinde

    leehinde Active Member Subscriber

    I was thinking about this. Once a year, at registration renewal, you do a drive-by at a 'warranted location' (think smog check, but a lot quicker), to get your mileage 'certified' and then pay based on that.

    And, CA has already added an EV fee-adder; it's just not kicked in yet.
    izudin likes this.

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