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Washington SB 5444 - to impose a mileage tax on owners of electric and hybrid vehicles

SB 5444, to impose a mileage tax on owners of electric and hybrid vehicles

https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/li...on-owners-of-electric-and-hybrid-vehicles.pdf

Text of SB 5444 SB 5444 would require the WSTC and state Department of Licensing (DOL) to create a plan for implementing a per-mile charge on electric and hybrid vehicles by December 1, 2022. The plan would include mileage reporting options, recommended rates and collection methods, options for working with other states or countries in developing and administering the RUC, options for payment plans as well as offsets and rebates, a governance structure and transition plan with the Department of Licensing (DOL) as the lead agency that would operate and administer the RUC, and recommendations relating to privacy protection.

The bill directs that by July 1, 2026, electric and hybrid vehicles would pay a RUC of two cents per mile. In June of 2029, that rate would increase to two and one-half cents per mile. This would replace the $150 electric vehicle fee and the $75 transportation electrification fee that EV owners pay now when they renew vehicle registrations., as those fees would be repealed that same year. Drivers who wish to pay a RUC sooner could do so through an early adoption program that would begin in 2025, and could have their EV fees waived.

Money collected from a RUC would be deposited into the Motor Vehicle Fund and used for preservation and maintenance.

Key Facts​

1. Senate Bill 5444 would require the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) and state Department of Licensing (DOL) to create a plan for implementing a Road Usage Charge (RUC) on electric and hybrid vehicles by December 1, 2022.

2. The legislation is premature given the artificial cost-drivers officials impose on transportation projects. These should be eliminated before imposing a new tax on the public.

3. Owners of electric vehicles pay $150 each year as a gas tax offset. If lawmakers feel that is too low, they should consider raising it, rather than imposing a new and administratively costly tax to replace it.

4. Privacy protection is a critical element of the RUC, so any potential data vulnerability should be corrected before imposing a RUC system.

5. Rather than rushing implementation of a RUC despite unresolved privacy concerns, a better approach would be to first allow the Commission to complete its federally-funded research over the next few years and report concrete findings back to the legislature.

6. Any per-mile charge should be protected under the state constitution’s 18th Amendment, which protects money for highway purposes only.

7. To increase public trust, lawmakers should reduce artificial cost-drivers in transportation, and take preliminary steps to ensure any per-mile charge directly benefits and protects the drivers who pay it.
Is Washington gasoline tax 50 cents per gallon? Average car gets 25mpg, so 2 cents/mile times 25 = 50 cents/gallon.
 
I recently acquired a 2013 model S in Oregon. Forgetting that I had some months back read a newspaper blurb about new DMV fees, I was shocked when my registration tab was about $300 more than expected. These are road usage fees, but not based on miles driven. I for one have several cars and am retired, so my Tesla would not rack up very many miles, but I pay the same amount as someone commuting etc. At least plates here are for TWO years!
 
I recently acquired a 2013 model S in Oregon. Forgetting that I had some months back read a newspaper blurb about new DMV fees, I was shocked when my registration tab was about $300 more than expected. These are road usage fees, but not based on miles driven. I for one have several cars and am retired, so my Tesla would not rack up very many miles, but I pay the same amount as someone commuting etc. At least plates here are for TWO years!
Oregon has an optional $.018 per mile program. Could save a little if your mileage is really low. I think EV registration is $220 less per 2 years with that option so the break even point is around 6k miles per year.
 
Has anyone seen an accounting of where the current EV fees go in Washington State?

I heard some or all of it was directed towards charging infrastructure build out??? Purely speculating this is why Washington has more Super Chargers than Oregon???
I doubt any of the money goes to superchargers buildout, that’s all out of Tesla’s pocket.

The fee will likely fund projects like this West Coast Green Highway: West Coast Electric Highway


I don’t know if there has actually been an audit of it though to show what it’s been going to this last year or so... it’s likely brought in a good amount of money in that time...
 

ChrisH

Active Member
Jun 4, 2013
2,288
1,053
Milton, wa
I like the pay per mile idea but it should add a weight factor as well and EVs should be 1.5 cents per mile and gas vehicles 2.5 cents. Remove the gas tax, implement RUC per mile and add a flat weight tax (x amount per pounds or whatever calculation). Incentivize EVs a bit more. Electricity is cheaper than gas now but that may change when the transition to EVs happens.
I’m fine going in annually to have a mileage check. I’m not sure how to deal with the out of state miles driven. I don’t drive out of state much so it wouldn’t really effect me but I know that’s not the case for everyone.
 
I don't have a problem with the per-mile thing, but have big concerns about privacy. If they simply check the odometer once a year by me bringing it someplace for in-person inspection that would be fine. But monitoring where I travel, or even being able to remotely grab my odometer more than annually is something I would oppose.

I don't drive outside the state often enough for that to make a significant difference.
 
I like the pay per mile idea but it should add a weight factor as well and EVs should be 1.5 cents per mile and gas vehicles 2.5 cents. Remove the gas tax, implement RUC per mile and add a flat weight tax (x amount per pounds or whatever calculation). Incentivize EVs a bit more. Electricity is cheaper than gas now but that may change when the transition to EVs happens.
I’m fine going in annually to have a mileage check. I’m not sure how to deal with the out of state miles driven. I don’t drive out of state much so it wouldn’t really effect me but I know that’s not the case for everyone.
Out of state travel may not really be such a problem. After all, every mile traveled causes wear and tear to roads somewhere, so you may pay your home state for damage to other states' roads while people in other states are paying at home for wear and tear due to their driving in your state.

Then again, my argument may have a flaw for those states that are bedroom communities for adjacent business centers; New Hampshire and Boston come to mind.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
7,764
14,138
Seattle
Out of state travel may not really be such a problem. After all, every mile traveled causes wear and tear to roads somewhere, so you may pay your home state for damage to other states' roads while people in other states are paying at home for wear and tear due to their driving in your state.

Then again, my argument may have a flaw for those states that are bedroom communities for adjacent business centers; New Hampshire and Boston come to mind.
The main flaw is that all 50 states will not go to pay per mile at the same time (if they ever do at all). Ideally it would be done on a federal level (with the Feds doling out the funding based on an estimate of miles driven in each state), but politically speaking, that will never happen.
 

Zythryn

Custom Warming Stripes wrap.
Mar 18, 2009
2,212
1,367
Minnesota
Like I said in my original reply, tax each EV $150 a year, or whatever the tax needed to be raised is. In fact, just extend the flat tax to all vehicles and remove the gas tax. No monitor needed, very little administration.
As a use tax, that is absolutely awful.
Vehicles should be charged in accordance with how much damage they do to the roads.

The best method, IMO, would be to charge by miles traveled and vehicle weight.
Screw the GPS device, just have an annual mileage declaration. Simple, low cost, and far better than a flat fee.

If people spend a lot of time out of state, give them the option of a gps tracker.
 

wdolson

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2015
8,873
17,291
Clark Co, WA
Out of state travel may not really be such a problem. After all, every mile traveled causes wear and tear to roads somewhere, so you may pay your home state for damage to other states' roads while people in other states are paying at home for wear and tear due to their driving in your state.

Then again, my argument may have a flaw for those states that are bedroom communities for adjacent business centers; New Hampshire and Boston come to mind.

Coming in late on this...

The Portland, OR area is the only place in the west where a fairly large metro area crosses a state border. There are lots of apartment complexes very close to the I-205 freeway just across the border in Vancouver because there are quite a few people who live in Clark County and work in Portland. They get nailed for Oregon income tax, but the schools in Clark County are considered much better than in Multnomah County, so a lot of people have moved across the river to get their kids in better schools. I believe the Camas School district is considered the best or one of the best in the state, and Washougal is not far behind (I don't have kids so I don't pay super close attention). Additionally Vancouver has tended to be a cheaper place to live than Portland, though the cost of housing is catching up fast. When Washington had same sex marriage and Oregon didn't some same sex couples moved to Vancouver.

I know some people who live around here and drive more than 50% of their yearly miles in Oregon.

But Clark County is a forgotten part of Washington. Vancouver has been the fastest growing city in Washington and I think it's about to overtake Spokane in size, but we seem to be more part of Oregon than Washington. Most organizations have Oregon chapters that include Clark County. The Tesla owners club for Oregon includes Clark County and the head of it lives in Vancouver. Being in the Portland media market we get more news about Oregon than Washington too. I didn't even know this bill was proposed until I saw this thread just now.
 
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JHCCAZ

Electrified Engineer
Supporting Member
Feb 2, 2021
674
1,297
Tucson
I live in AZ, but I happened on this thread - two sons in WA (one with a Tesla) and it's not impossible I'll end up there at least as a full- or part-time resident.

Some semi-random thoughts while reading the discussion:

To the idea of a tire-related tax: Teslas famously tend to rapid tire wear because of their high available drive-wheel torque. Think twice if you believe it's neutral or advantageous for Tesla owners.

To the idea of road-wear contribution from your own usage: I think that the need for road maintenance is not primarily from cars driving miles; it's more from weather damage. Water in coastal WA, moisture + hard freezes inland, large daily temperature excursions in AZ. If you're homebound during Covid or its aftermath, you're presumably getting more deliveries. If you live in the city and you walk, ride, bike or scoot around, you are being supported by a huge goods and services network over the roads (a point surprisingly unrecognized by dedicated urbanites). All this argues that everyone needs the roads and it's not so much tied to personal miles traveled on them. It really says that the taxes for roads should not be from gas usage or motor vehicle registration in the first place, but perhaps from sales (general consumption of goods and services) or property (looser correlation to roads but more progressive*), or income (poor correlation to roads but yet more progressive*). A simple equal head tax is probably fair regarding roads and other things, but historically unpopular.
*progressive in the mathematical tax-rate sense, not the Progressive political-philosophy sense, though there's a lot of overlap in practice.​

Of course if you believe strongly in EV incentivization and ICE punishment (and more generally in tax policy as a lever to force change rather than just to pay for costs of required public expenditures), you'll like a gas tax and dislike an equally-applied car-registration fee. This is arguably a politically-Progressive view with a debatable environmental-impact basis, though also arguably elitist as a benefit to a wealthier demographic and thus economically regressive (a quite-common pattern today).

To the topic of tracking, monitoring & reporting: I know we're being tracked both personally and meta-datically already, but I'd hate to see any new precedent of government reporting sourced from our cars or homes or persons. If a mileage-based tax is adopted despite the points discussed above, then I like the self-reporting of annual odometer readings the best. Simple, least intrusive, maintains the important feeling of voluntary compliance with little real risk of successful cheating. If a type-it-in method isn't good enough, then I could envision an option in the Tesla app/website that, under owner control, creates a VIN-associated report, QR code or whatever, for upload or mailing to tax and/or DMV authorities each year. About the same as other reporting requirements and associated software. This could also include any system-health diagnostics to satisfy states that still want safety inspections. The emissions-testing and safety-inspection stations should largely wither and eventually disappear, with only a small backup to handle compliance issues flagged by law enforcement

To the people who simply grouse about government idiots and taxes, I'm with you in spirit but that's beyond the scope of an EV forum. If EVs and Tesla grow at a screaming rate, then gas-tax revenue will disappear and something has to give. Even a mythical perfect, waste-free government needs to have funds for the road system.
 
To the topic of tracking, monitoring & reporting: I know we're being tracked both personally and meta-datically already, but I'd hate to see any new precedent of government reporting sourced from our cars or homes or persons. If a mileage-based tax is adopted despite the points discussed above, then I like the self-reporting of annual odometer readings the best. Simple, least intrusive, maintains the important feeling of voluntary compliance with little real risk of successful cheating. If a type-it-in method isn't good enough, then I could envision an option in the Tesla app/website that, under owner control, creates a VIN-associated report, QR code or whatever, for upload or mailing to tax and/or DMV authorities each year. About the same as other reporting requirements and associated software. This could also include any system-health diagnostics to satisfy states that still want safety inspections. The emissions-testing and safety-inspection stations should largely wither and eventually disappear, with only a small backup to handle compliance issues flagged by law enforcement

I _do_ think that self reporting won't work (too easy to lie: hey I drove only 100 miles last year!). I figured it would be easy enough for somebody at the DMV to just stick their head in the car and read the odometer. But your idea that I would instruct the car to tell the DMV my mileage is even better.
 

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