Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

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

wdolson

Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,651
10,295
Clark Co, WA
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.

The commercial shipping lobby wouldn't stand it, but the greatest damage to roads is from heavy trucks. During the winter studded tires also damage the roads. Taxing commercial trucks more and allowing those companies to pass on the price to the consumer would cover the damage to the roads from moving goods around. An added tax on studded tires that goes into the road maintenance budget would also cover the damage they do.

Passenger cars with normal tires probably do the least damage to the roads and EVs even less than ICE. Most ICE leak some oil and sometimes they have gasoline leaks too. I grew up on a hill and I remember one time a car parked on the street up the hill from us developed a severe gas tank leak. The rivulet of gasoline going down the street etched the asphalt. There was a rut about 1/2 inch wide all the way to the bottom of the hill.

The Goodyear tires that came with my Model S did not last long. At 15K miles they were showing serious wear and I was told by the service center that I should replace them by 20K miles. Shortly after that I got a severe flat and decided to replace all the tires. The Michelins I've had since still have 50% tread left at 20K miles.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EarlyAdopter

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,693
1,499
Huntington Beach, CA
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.
"I _do_ think that self reporting won't work (too easy to lie:…"
Easy to lie this year, or next, but would catch up with you upon sale of the car or end of lease.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,386
9,957
Seattle
"I _do_ think that self reporting won't work (too easy to lie:…"
Easy to lie this year, or next, but would catch up with you upon sale of the car or end of lease.
That's a very narrow view of car ownership. It wouldn't work period full stop. And neither would the tire idea (for reasons already mentioned).
 
  • Like
Reactions: TunaBug and DSolie

wdolson

Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,651
10,295
Clark Co, WA
Washington does have a $5/tire fee for studded tires. (And there was an attempt to pass a bill to raise that to $100 in 2019.)

I didn't know that, I have never used them. $100 a tire is probably too much, but I could see an increase to $10 possibly passing.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,629
1,642
Richland, WA
I didn't know that, I have never used them. $100 a tire is probably too much, but I could see an increase to $10 possibly passing.
Studs can really put a toll on roads, and honestly, good quality studless tires are pretty amazing now a days. I'll admit that studs still have their place, but I'm sure 80% of people would be fine with a good quality (Blizzak, xIce, VikingContact) winter tire and AWD if the roads around you get ignored but winter crews.
 

wdolson

Supporting Member
Jul 24, 2015
7,651
10,295
Clark Co, WA
Studs can really put a toll on roads, and honestly, good quality studless tires are pretty amazing now a days. I'll admit that studs still have their place, but I'm sure 80% of people would be fine with a good quality (Blizzak, xIce, VikingContact) winter tire and AWD if the roads around you get ignored but winter crews.

I've driven around the hills here with a pretty heavy snow in my Model S with the Goodyear tires that came with the car and it felt like driving on a dirt road. There is one spot at the top of our street that gets extremely bad whenever it snows. A neighbor who lives up there said a police cruiser got stuck on the ice and had to be towed off a few years ago. My Model S fish tailed a tiny bit on that patch of ice, but that's the only time it broke free.

If I was a skier I would probably want something better for going up into the mountains, but Teslas are fantastic for occasional winter driving with just regular general purpose tires. The center of gravity being so low combined with AWD, modern traction control, and the weight makes it a very steady platform. Studless snow tires would be even better.
 

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,629
1,642
Richland, WA
I've driven around the hills here with a pretty heavy snow in my Model S with the Goodyear tires that came with the car and it felt like driving on a dirt road. There is one spot at the top of our street that gets extremely bad whenever it snows. A neighbor who lives up there said a police cruiser got stuck on the ice and had to be towed off a few years ago. My Model S fish tailed a tiny bit on that patch of ice, but that's the only time it broke free.

If I was a skier I would probably want something better for going up into the mountains, but Teslas are fantastic for occasional winter driving with just regular general purpose tires. The center of gravity being so low combined with AWD, modern traction control, and the weight makes it a very steady platform. Studless snow tires would be even better.

Right, I think studless would be a beast on ice and frozen roads. I only got one or two good snow days this winter (eastern side of WA) but the Y with xIce SNOWS were amazing. The car doesn’t have impressive ground clearance (barely more than the 3), but coming to a full stop in an untouched parking lots with 8+ inches of fresh soft snow was absolutely nothing, the car creeps away with no drama. Floor it and it just pulls off with very slight wheel spin. It’s just “another day” for it. I figured it would be great in rough conditions BUT might get bogged down with deep snow because of clearance issues, but as long as it’s not hard packed with really deep ruts (basically lifting the wheels off the ground by being high centered) it just goes
 

Long Ranger

Member
Jul 18, 2018
66
134
Seattle
I didn't know that, I have never used them. $100 a tire is probably too much, but I could see an increase to $10 possibly passing.
Yeah, but I don’t think $5 or $10 comes anywhere close to paying for the extra road damage. One article at the time of the $100 per studded tire proposal stated that it was expected to bring in less than $2M per year, yet WSDOT estimated studded tires cause an extra $20M+ of damage annually. If folks are arguing EVs need to pay for their share of road maintenance, shouldn’t studded tire users pay for theirs?
 
  • Informative
Reactions: EarlyAdopter

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,386
9,957
Seattle
Yeah, but I don’t think $5 or $10 comes anywhere close to paying for the extra road damage. One article at the time of the $100 per studded tire proposal stated that it was expected to bring in less than $2M per year, yet WSDOT estimated studded tires cause an extra $20M+ of damage annually. If folks are arguing EVs need to pay for their share of road maintenance, shouldn’t studded tire users pay for theirs?
If those numbers are right then each studded tire causes ~$1k in road damage? If that's the case they should be banned altogether.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,860
35,509
Oregon
If those numbers are right then each studded tire causes ~$1k in road damage? If that's the case they should be banned altogether.

I don't think the calculation is that easy. Studded tires can last many seasons. (Long ago I usually got 3-5 seasons out of my studded tires.) But I knew other people that just pulled the studs out at the end of the season and used them stud-less until they wore out before switching to different tires. (They bought new studded tires every year.)
 

DSolie

Pew Pew
Jul 2, 2020
332
692
Olympia, WA
So, where does that "1.1% of the value of your car" yearly registration tax pay for?

That's only for people in the RTA area... That pays for your light rail projects. Down here in Oly, we don't pay that. My tabs (that are due in a few weeks) are $313. $225 of that is EV related fees, $45 is a vehicle weight fee, $30 of that is the actual tab fee that we have all voted on, the rest is fluff.
 

nanite

Member
Jun 11, 2021
5
3
Seattle
That's only for people in the RTA area... That pays for your light rail projects. Down here in Oly, we don't pay that. My tabs (that are due in a few weeks) are $313. $225 of that is EV related fees, $45 is a vehicle weight fee, $30 of that is the actual tab fee that we have all voted on, the rest is fluff.
Ah.....so I am going to be paying for 2 electric vehicles :p
 
  • Funny
Reactions: DSolie

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,386
9,957
Seattle
There is a fee that is supposed to go directly to expanding EV support infrastructure.
Was Suzi LeVine in charge of this program too? :)

Seriously though, I have no idea where all that money is going. Doesn't seem like there is much in the way of WA funded charging stations.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wenkan

DSolie

Pew Pew
Jul 2, 2020
332
692
Olympia, WA
Was Suzi LeVine in charge of this program too? :)

Seriously though, I have no idea where all that money is going. Doesn't seem like there is much in the way of WA funded charging stations.

It's all going to WSDOT for matching grants to incentivize NPO's and local cities to install charing stations.

Per Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Partnerships

......Completed Grant Projects

Through a competitive process, WSDOT awarded $1 million in grants for the 2017-2019 program to leverage about $1.5 million in matching funds, for a total investment of about $2.5 million. The funds helped to install a total of 15 new electric vehicle charging stations near highway exits about 40 miles apart along I-5, I-90, and I-82/US-395/I-182.

Eastern Washington Project

Project Lead: Energy Northwest on behalf of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance (EVITA) in collaboration with Greenlots and EV4.
$405,000 State Grant
$1,071,000 Total Project
This project provides a network of DC fast chargers in 9 communities along I-82, I-182, US 395, and I-90. The network bridged a charging gap between Tri-Cities and I-90 to both the west and north-east of Tri-Cities. New stations are in Cle Elum, Connell, Ellensburg, Kennewick, Moses Lake, Pasco, Prosser, Richland, and Yakima.

I-5 Corridor Project

Project Lead: Forth in collaboration with EVgo
$595,000 State Grant
$1,461,689 Total Project
New electric vehicle fast charging infrastructure along I-5 by provides dual charging stations to fill gaps and provide redundancy. New stations are in Bellingham, Chehalis, DuPont, Lynnwood, SeaTac, and Tacoma.

......
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Reactions: PLUS EV and ChadS

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,629
1,642
Richland, WA
It's all going to WSDOT for matching grants to incentivize NPO's and local cities to install charing stations.

Per Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Partnerships
Wait a second, you're telling me that on average the 9 EVITA chargers were ~$120k each.... cost $21/hr to charge at, ONLY have 1 CSS, 1 CHAdeMO, and 1 J-1772 plug AND are only 50kW stations? Your tax dollars hard at work folks! Tesla supercharger stations by this math must each be well over a million bucks to install.... The ones in Tri Cities I think were largely installed in 2019 and 2020... MAYBE 2018. FIFTY KILOWATTS....

50kW would get me 164 miles at highway speed in my Model Y and would take an hour to recharge at these stations and $21, or almost $0.13/mile.

If gas was $3.50/gal that means a car that got 27 mpg would cost the same as charging here, but obviously wouldn't take an hour to do so. I suspect most midsized SUVs might actually be able to do 27 mpg now adays...

This is such a waste of money. This needs to be audited and managed better. There needs to be goals and targets of cost per install and power delivered. Should have a target of at least 4 DCFC stations at each location and 150kW/station. Honestly they should be building out even larger than that at this point, but at least four stations would put it on par with what Tesla was doing what, back in 2017 or something?

Edit: The one in Cle Elum appears to be only 25kW! Right next to all those fast Tesla superchargers... could you imagine if you just bough a new $40k MachE or something... all excited and happy to road trip across WA and you plug in at Cle Elum. You're all happy you get a nice coffee shop to stop at (but not if it's after hours, lol). You notice a bunch of Tesla guys coming and going so you start to chat with them and find out they're hanging around for 15 minutes, maybe 25 minutes, and then back on the road for another 150 miles or something while you.... you need to wait like two hours for your 50kWh (assuming ~300 wh/mi highway). TWO HOURS. I feel like a Tesla fanboy but man, I couldn't yell loud enough to everyone I know NOT to buy a non-Tesla EV.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: wenkan and DSolie

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,386
9,957
Seattle
Wait a second, you're telling me that on average the 9 EVITA chargers were ~$120k each.... cost $21/hr to charge at, ONLY have 1 CSS, 1 CHAdeMO, and 1 J-1772 plug AND are only 50kW stations? Your tax dollars hard at work folks! Tesla supercharger stations by this math must each be well over a million bucks to install.... The ones in Tri Cities I think were largely installed in 2019 and 2020... MAYBE 2018. FIFTY KILOWATTS....

50kW would get me 164 miles at highway speed in my Model Y and would take an hour to recharge at these stations and $21, or almost $0.13/mile.

If gas was $3.50/gal that means a car that got 27 mpg would cost the same as charging here, but obviously wouldn't take an hour to do so. I suspect most midsized SUVs might actually be able to do 27 mpg now adays...

This is such a waste of money. This needs to be audited and managed better. There needs to be goals and targets of cost per install and power delivered. Should have a target of at least 4 DCFC stations at each location and 150kW/station. Honestly they should be building out even larger than that at this point, but at least four stations would put it on par with what Tesla was doing what, back in 2017 or something?

Edit: The one in Cle Elum appears to be only 25kW! Right next to all those fast Tesla superchargers... could you imagine if you just bough a new $40k MachE or something... all excited and happy to road trip across WA and you plug in at Cle Elum. You're all happy you get a nice coffee shop to stop at (but not if it's after hours, lol). You notice a bunch of Tesla guys coming and going so you start to chat with them and find out they're hanging around for 15 minutes, maybe 25 minutes, and then back on the road for another 150 miles or something while you.... you need to wait like two hours for your 50kWh (assuming ~300 wh/mi highway). TWO HOURS. I feel like a Tesla fanboy but man, I couldn't yell loud enough to everyone I know NOT to buy a non-Tesla EV.
Agree with all this. The juice isn't worth the squeeze here. I believe the typical supercharger is being installed for under 200k, so these stations are nearly as expensive, and they're practically useless.

Also, why price the electricity so high as to disincentivize usage? If I'm understanding this correctly, the station is already paid for. Or are the government entities somehow taking a cut of the charging fees too? Makes no sense.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top