Vermont, like many places, is looking at how to pay for roads as we get more electric vehicles, which don’t pay gasoline tax. About 20 states have an annual EV “registration fee” – New Hampshire is considering one – but that’s a pretty clumsy mechanism.
VTDigger had a recent report about the issue in that state (full story is here):
One option is a tax on miles driven, not fuel. A device could be installed in a vehicle to measure the number of miles driven per year, Boomhower said. Because the device would also be equipped with GPS technology, it would be able to subtract any miles driven outside of Vermont, so those would not be taxed.
Another possibility is to tax the hours spent on recharging electric vehicles — whether at home charging stations or public charging stations. However, the technology to tax at-home charging is still in the works. … It is nearly impossible for electric companies to tell the difference between electricity being used to charge an electric car versus other day-to-day electricity needs, such as charging cellphones or watching TV.
How about this. Most states already require annual safety inspections. At that time the garage doing the inspection can note the odometer reading and submit it to the state. The state computes miles driven in the past year and bills the owner so much per mile. The rate might depend on the weight of the vehicle, but that’s a detail.
Benefits: Gas and EV treated the same; no gear needed in the vehicle; much better privacy protection than a GPS; the data collection mechanism is already in place; people are used to other taxes that get billed annually.
Note: If this were adopted, then the current gas tax should be eliminated lest gas drivers pay twice.
That makes a ton of sense to me.
The problem with this is the owner potentially paying a lot of state tax for miles driven outside of that state.
The other point to consider is do we as a community (or state, nation, planet) want to encourage or discourage more Electric Vehicles. I think most of us think they are a net benefit, so let’s continue to encourage EV’s.
I drive a lot of miles in VT and MA, but I always gas up in NH. It’s usually cheaper and I would prefer that my state and local station owner get the revenue.
Stop worrying about who’s paying their fair share and start worrying about who’s benefiting from their share, whether it’s fair or not. Millions of state dollars and billions of federal dollars are diverted and squandered on stuff that doesn’t benefit road users at all while the benefits are enjoyed by people who pay zero in road user taxes. Drivers are being fleeced, regardless of the kind of vehicle they drive.
In the current gas-tax, you pay where you bought the gas, not where you drove the car. So that is not too different from Stephen Campbell’s suggestion.