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Electric cars and gasoline tax

Posted Thursday, March 8, 2012, at 3:03 PM

I had a caller just now with an interesting question. Right now, in Tennessee and I'm sure in a lot of other places, gasoline tax revenue plays a major part in the cost of maintaining and upgrading roads and highways. That's a relatively-straightforward case where the users of a service help to maintain it, something that's not always possible with government services and revenue sources.

Right now, the percentage of electric cars is still quite small, but as it continues to grow, will that have an impact on the available funds for maintaining road infrastructure? If so, how will the tax structure have to change to make sure that roads can be maintained?

It may be a few years before fully-electric cars make enough inroads to put a big dent in the gas tax revenue, but it's something that probably needs to be considered, sooner rather than later.


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I agree with you guys; the vast majority of Americans don't want electric cars, period! One of these days it may change but let the free market determine that, not the Gov.

By the way have you priced one of those gems? Better get ready to spend 35-40K.

-- Posted by Harleytodd on Tue, Mar 13, 2012, at 11:18 AM

I'll have to agree with liveforlight on this one. Taxation is not the problem, spending is. The market for these and other hybrid cars is at best, dismal. GM has stopped production of the Chevy VOLT for this very reason. Another hybrid sports car that was touted by Joe Biden to be the car of the future and predicted to create 2,000 jobs only created about 200 jobs and the company is now closing it's doors. The problem here is, they were given 500 million dollars of tax payer money by the Obama administration in an effort to promote green energy projects. The base price of this joke of a car was $100,000.00. (I'll just bet hardworking families by the thousands were just lining up to buy these!)The market for solar panels and windmills is practically non-existant and the American people are not going to just accept having this technology forced upon them.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Mon, Mar 12, 2012, at 12:08 AM

As i understand it, the mileage tax would cover all vehicles based on a GPS reading for your mileage.

I'm sure with all the "on-star" type devices wireless internet, etc. It would be no problem to track your mileage and bill you accordingly.

I have a friend who has an electric car and she says her electric bill went up about $100.00/month from charging the car at night. I'm sure the tax rate on our electricity is already sufficient to maintain roads in the event that more electric cars start using them.

I doubt, however, that those revenues will be used to support the vehicles which generate them but instead be siphoned off to some other corrupted pet spending project while a new tax is levied to offset the "losses" in gas taxes.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Mar 9, 2012, at 1:45 PM

Interesting thought John. When folks recharge at a public charging station, I suppose they can put a tax on it, but when charged at home....?

Hopefully they will not tax all of us an extra usage tax on our electric bill, but I would not put it past them.

By the way, has anyone used a public charging station and if so, what is the charge?

Do you measure your mileage by watts per mile or....?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Mar 9, 2012, at 11:46 AM

They are not going to let one cent of tax revenue slip away. Instead, there will be more taxes implemented. There are already plans out there for a mileage tax.

Having enough tax revenue is not the problem. Spending too much is the problem.

Subsidizing car makers to build electric cars that people don't want, etc.

-- Posted by Liveforlight on Fri, Mar 9, 2012, at 9:24 AM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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