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Oregon's new "Tesla Tax"?

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by MikeBur, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. MikeBur

    MikeBur ManualPilot

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    Apologies for the click-bait title, though this is how republican candidate for Bend referred to this recently-passed bill: Oregon House passes $5.3 billion transportation bill

    Appears to state a 0.1% payroll tax to be used to fund EV rebates, though I read the bill as stating this is exp cited to fund public transportation improvements for Metro and rural areas...?

    <quote>

    Summary of taxes in the proposed bill

    GAS TAX: Up 4 cents per gallon in January 2018 and then up 2 cents per gallon every two years until 2024 for a total increase of 10 cents per gallon

    BIKE TAX: $15 tax on bicycle purchases of $200 or more

    CAR REGISTRATION FEES: Raises the basic fee to $56 and adds sums based on miles per gallon beginning in 2020:

    -- For vehicles that have a rating of 0-19 MPG, $18

    -- For vehicles that have a rating of 20-39 MPG, $23.

    -- For vehicles that have a rating of 40 MPG or greater, $33

    -- For electric vehicles, $110.

    The fees will bump up by a couple of bucks in 2022.

    TRANSIT PAYROLL TAX: 0.1 percent on all employees

    NEW CAR SALES: 0.5 percent

    ELECTRIC/HYBRID PURCHASE REBATE: $2,500 electric purchase, $1,500 hybrid purchase

    </quote>
     
  2. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

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    Does somebody have to come plug your car in for you? ;)

    (sorry, PNW humor -- see, Oregon does not have self-serve gas stations, somebody has to pump gas for you...)
     
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  3. ChrisPDX

    ChrisPDX Member

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    It's sad that the Bend rep didn't actually read the whole bill then. If he did, he would have noticed the rebate only applies to EVs with a base price of $50k or less. So while the Model 3 will be covered, the rest of Tesla's more expensive and current lineup isn't.

    As an Oregonian, I'm good with this bill. At one point they were thinking of a per mile tax. Since EVs don't really damage roads, there's no point in charging us per mile. Instead a fixed annual fee to cover general maintenance (such as traffic lights) makes more sense and is exactly what this bill does.
     
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  4. pdxrajiv

    pdxrajiv Member

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    Really?
    I have never heard that claim being made.
    Are there any credible independent studies that show that?

    I support reducing carbon emissions and EVs can be part of that solution but I presumed that they contribute just as much to road wear and tear as equally heavy ICE cars.
     
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  5. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    There's the same point in charging per mile as users of ICEVs: the more you drive, the more you pay. Fixed fees for BEVs are regressive taxation (wealthier people drive more miles) and discourage lower-mileage driver owners from having a BEV (plenty of cheaper used short-range BEVs out there).

    In the same bill, they're _raising_ gas taxes. If they _really_ think that everybody should be treated the same they could simply scrap the state gasoline tax or lower them and have the same per-vehicle fixed fee for everyone. I'm sure that they don't because they know that fixed fees are a bad thing.

    I was really liking that Oregon was piloting per-mile pricing (the same way there's weight-mile fees for trucking), it seemed like it was being forward-thinking instead of lazy and reactive.

    What's really sad is that basic per-mile odometer-based pricing is technically _easy_. Registrations already have the VIN, odometer reading and, where appropriate, a Registered Weight. No new information to collect, simple information to store. If you can charge a fixed fee, you can charge a variable fee. If you want to know weight, you can use VIN databases to obtain base curb weight, GVWR and combine with Registered Weight to give you a basis.

    It is so frustrating that legislators have had so much time to deal with this, and keep coming up with the same non-solution.
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    And on average are _heavier_ than equivalent ICEVs.

    It's often been suggested that damage to roads really comes from heavier vehicles and weathering. Sometimes the effect is considered to proportional to the 4th power of difference between axle weight and the load-bearing weight of the road. (So less damage caused on major highways, more damage on residential roads.)
     
  7. ChrisPDX

    ChrisPDX Member

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    Vehicle Weight and Road Damage basically says this and links to a government study on it. Additional Googling will help you find additional studies as well, but go into greater math.

    There's also studded tires and snow chains that cause massive damage to roads too. So I'm all for an additional tax on those items to cover repairs as well. But for regular tires on cars, they will not cause any real wear/tear on the road surface. It's trucks and weather that cause most damage to roads.

    ICE cars also damage the roads a little bit too depending on their maintenance. If they leak gas and oil, that breaks down asphalt. Not a concern with EVs. Me driving 10,000 miles will not cost the state of Oregon any more then if I just drove 10 miles.
     
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  8. X Fan

    X Fan Supporting Member

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    They really stuck it to EVs....
     
  9. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    It's interesting that if roads are not driven on, they decay quickly too.

    So they should tax everybody who does not drive as well.

    It costs money to clean up roadkill, so all wild animals should be taxed. But other than feces, I'm not sure what currency they would use.
     
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  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    No need. If you make vehicles pay appropriate costs, people who use roads indirectly will pay for them indirectly.
    E.g. fire service uses roads.
    Cost of road use is added to fire service budgets.
    Taxes pay for fire service.

    It's really simple:
    - treat it as a public good: pay using various wealth taxes
    - treat it as a service: pay using usage fees
     
  11. 0ptions

    0ptions Member

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    Glad to see Oregon is more concerned about road wear income versus clean environment initiatives. /sarcasm
    Seems backwards to what I normally hear about the hipster state.
     
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  12. pdxrajiv

    pdxrajiv Member

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    I see. I thought the original argument was based on comparing EV cars and ICE cars. And you are saying that they have essentially the same impact on road wear? And thus trucks should bear most (all?) of the road use taxes and all cars should be exempt?
     
  13. ChrisPDX

    ChrisPDX Member

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    While I do believe trucks should bear most of the cost, I don't think cars should be exempt either. I originally said I'm good with a fixed annual fee. Even though I don't cause wear on the infrastructure with my EVs, I still utilize it. There are fixed costs with roads and I have no problem paying my far share. Until this bill passed, I was basically not paying my portion of those costs as they were traditionally covered through the gas tax. That's why I consider this bill a big win. State rebate for the purchase of an EV to help encourage more EV purchases and an additional tax to cover our actual use of the roads. Win for the new EV owners and win for the state to continue to get road funds even though gas use is dropping.
     
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  14. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    It would be interesting...if it were true.

    All man made objects decay at varying rates depending on the nature of their materials. Asphalt and concrete decays relatively slowly.

    Road wear in temperate climates like central Oregon is primarily due to vehicle use, not weather.

    Heavier vehicles cause more road wear.

    Roads are a public good and are used by everyone, directly or indirectly (even people who never leave their house obviously benefit from the transportation system). So we should all pay for them. How to do that exactly is of course subject to debate.

    As the number of EVs increases, the old gas tax model of paying for road construction and maintenance is no longer effective. EVs need to pay their fair share. A per mile odometer based system as noted by @ItsNotAboutTheMoney is one approach that could be implemented. In the near term such an approach may seem regressive because right now most EVs are more costly than the average ICE but that will not be the case in the near future as huge numbers of Model 3's and hopefully a lot of Bolts and other EV models hit the roads.
     
  15. pdxrajiv

    pdxrajiv Member

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    We are in complete agreement!
     
  16. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I'm a little confused. Why is the fee increasing as the pollution decreases?

    It seems like the best strategy is to got a very heavy truck ("hauling capacity!") that gets exactly 19MPG to maximize your impact (damage) while minimizing your costs.
     
  17. ChrisPDX

    ChrisPDX Member

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    ICE cars still buy gas which is also taxed per gallon. With fuel economy increasing in general, states have noticed a drop in tax revenue due to people buying less gas. So this fee is to simply help make up the difference. Seems odd at first, but rest assured those gas guzzlers are paying for it. :)
     
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  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    This is (part of) why I'd never make a good politician. "It's good policy when you combine A with B with C..." IMO, every policy should make sense in isolation as well. This one appears not to.
     
  19. iwannam3

    iwannam3 Member

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    An ODOT official interviewed on the radio admitted that it doesn't matter if it is a Fiat 500 or a Suburban, the road wear and infrastructure requirements (bridge design, concrete thickness etc) are all driven by semi trucks. They, of course, are heavily subsidized by you and me. Wonder what they will do about the Tesla semi? A road crushing machine that buys no fuel?
     
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  20. MikeBur

    MikeBur ManualPilot

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    Agreed on many of the thoughts above

    As it pertains to fuel tax / mileage, I thought someone had done the math for the cost offset required for an EV though could not find it, so I quickly created the below (using data from From Fuel taxes in the United States - Wikipedia WA appears to be the 2nd highest tax rate on gas and diesel!) and the data from the Oregon bill

    upload_2017-7-21_9-16-41.png




    Excel inside zip file, if anyone wants my workings ;)
     

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