As gas tax revenues drop, states like Utah want EVs to pay for road upkeep

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How about fewer roads and less surface area dedicated to parking lots offset by more light commuter rail instead?


You’re right, Xeni, why should EVs have to pay for the upkeep of the roads they use.


Seems to me we need to decouple transportation funding from gasoline taxes SOMEHOW if we want to shift to a post-fossil-fuel economy. By all means, keep taxing gasoline and other pollutants and use the revenue to fund environmental initiatives. But roads don’t magically become free to build and maintain just because the people using them are driving electric cars.


The problem with user fees has always been that they disproportionately affect lower-income folks. Why can’t they roll this into state individual/corporate taxes?

I suppose the answer is “because that’s not how things are done in the US”, but it’s not much comfort to those for whom this represents a significant new expense.


Illinois already changed the registration fees for EVs. The wife’s registration used to be $30 for three years, then it soared to $250 for one year.

ETA: As @orenwolf says above, this did cause those with lower incomes to opt not to buy a cheap/used EV. For the richer folk it wasnt a big deal.


Because they aren’t contributing to the climate change that’s killing all of us?

I’m not sure about Utah, but Oregon is 3 decades behind on their infrastructure investment. I don’t buy that they will use the fees from EVs to develop roads, when they haven’t been using gas taxes to keep up, either.

As for light commuter rail, it can help but not solve transportation problems in the West. Major west coast cities like Seattle and Portland have invested massively in public transit and still fall short of the needed capacity, on trains, buses, and roads.


I don’t see how this can be enforced. Electric power can be obtained nearly anywhere, so if someone is doing the majority of their charging at home how would the state know? Do they require EV’s to pay tax based on what the car says how much it used regardless of where the power came from? If so if someone used solar panels at home they’d be paying tax on something that was free.

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Funding roads via gasoline taxes disproportionately affects lower-income folks since the vast majority of electric cars on the road today are driven by well-to-do people. So under the current system a working-class person who drives a used Honda Civic is effectively subsidizing the roads used by a rich person driving a Tesla.


Agreed. That’s why I suggested state tax (meaning state income tax) instead.


I’m pro-EV and renewables, though currently EVs still contribute to pollution but in other ways. Making and also recycling batteries is a big mess right now, and if the electricity isn’t coming from renewables there’s a chance its coming from a plant that uses some kind of fossil fuel. I still think we’re going in the right direction but there’s still a lot of problem solving that needs to happen to make electric cars have less of an impact on the environment. Ideally though the solution is not more electric cars but more public transportation.


Just switch over to charging all non commercial vehicles a milage fee when you renew your registration - give people a monthly payment plan if needed. No need for two tax collection systems.


Some states don’t have a state income tax. Although it wouldn’t be hard to find out a way to tax people for it, you should know since you’re also in Austin but the city here sure does love to roll a bunch of tax stuff into one’s power and water bill. My usage at the lowest is like 30 bucks but what i end up paying is almost always double because of all of their taxes.


The downside there is that you decouple the cost of the roads from those that use them.

If taxes have some relationship to miles driven then the people who drive less pay less. So pedestrians and cyclists pay less for road maintenance than people who commute 80 miles a day in private cars.


That still ends up being wildly unfair, as most urban centers have been gentrified, and the pedestrians/cyclists are the ones living in very expensive urban homes/condos/apartments while the folks who commute 80 miles a day do so because that’s the only place they could afford to live.


For EV charging at superchargers or DC chargers: pay the tax at the plug. Yes, I know Tesla doesnt charge some users to charge, but they are using the state infrastructure and should be paying to lease that already.

For home charging: the user is already being taxed via the electric supply.

I’m not cool with paying a mileage tax. The wife does about 25% of her driving out of state. Utah’s solution at least taxes based on in-state driving only. But if every state taxed in the same way like they do with gas taxes then tax at the plug is the best option.

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Also true, but at the same time, aren’t those that live in the state responsible for the vehicles travelling on the roads? I mean, delivery trucks, infrastructure vehicles and public transportation all use the roads, and collectively that needs to be paid for.

I suppose it’s a Canadian vs US viewpoint, but the way I look at it is, roads cost X to maintain, we’re all responsible for ensuring that gets paid, lets do that proportionally to income, and find ways to incentivize less road use in other ways.


They should increase the gas tax to pay for the roads. This would make driving an EV an increasingly better deal which would help drive EV adoption which is something we need to do anyways.


But if I am a pedestrian who has goods delivered to my home then I indirectly pay for the cost of the roads when I pay the shipping costs for those goods. It still links the cost of roads to those who use them.


But surely you must concede this wouldn’t be an effective long-term strategy if your goal is to get everyone driving EVs. It would be like making Medicare dependent on tobacco taxes.