[Oeva-list] Fwd: Electric car tax -- HB2328

Chris Arnesen chris at darkstarpro.com
Wed Apr 13 16:02:44 PDT 2011

That's so funny! If they want to charge the same for electric vehicles, then why is the proposal to pay 4.6 times what a gas vehicle pays?


Jon Balgley <jon at photodad.com> wrote:

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>From: Rep Read <read.rep at state.or.us>
>Date: Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 2:05 AM
>Subject: RE: Electric car tax -- HB2328
>To: Jon Balgley <jon at photodad.com>
>Dear Mr. Balgley,
>Thank you for writing and sharing your concerns with the electric car tax. I
>appreciate your perspective on the issue.
>I appreciate your concerns about legislation that would create a
>disincentive for the emergence of a market for electric vehicles in Oregon.
> I strongly support the emergence of this new technology and am working on
>other legislation to encourage the availability of electric vehicle charging
>stations to lessen the worry about charging up away from home or the office.
>As a legislator, I have the challenging task of balancing competing
>interests.  On one hand I support the emergence of electric vehicles in
>Oregon.  On the other hand, as co-chair of the House Committee on
>Transportation and Economic Development, I have the responsibility to ensure
>the viability of the highway trust fund so that the state can care for the
>road system that new electric vehicles will drive upon.
>I am sure you agree that operators of electric vehicles should not drive our
>road system for free in perpetuity.  EV owners should pay something for
>their use of the road system.  The only questions are what EV owners should
>pay and when should they pay it.
>A tax on use need not be regarded as a penalty, as long as it is fair.  A
>road usage tax would be based on use and thus mirrors the gas tax for
>standard vehicles.  Paying based on use is longstanding policy for road
>funding in Oregon.
>HB 2328 is a bill sponsored by Oregon’s Road User Fee Task Force.  The task
>force has a nine-year tenure in developing new ways to fund our state’s road
>system.  The task force has researched many viable ways to collect a tax on
>miles driven, one of which involves wireless transfer of an odometer reading
>from a car’s existing odometer.  This is not outlandish technology and the
>bill is based on that method of reporting, although ODOT will be able to
>develop other reporting methods from which motorists may choose to suit
>their individual needs.
>As currently written, the bill also has a delayed start date for the new tax
>on electric vehicles – January 1, 2014.  This will give the EV market time
>to take hold before the new tax would be applied.  Also, the bill provides
>that electric vehicles purchased before the 2014 model years would not pay
>the tax.  They would drive free.  That’s an incentive to purchase early.
>Further, the amount of tax paid under HB 2328 would be small as it is
>currently written.  The tax rate was set at a level identical to what a
>hybrid electric vehicle currently pays in gas tax, $6 for every 1,000 miles
>driven.  That’s only $6 per month for high volume driving.  This does not
>seem like much of a discouragement to purchase of these vehicles.
>I think Oregon can both incent the emergence of a new type of vehicle
>technology while at the same time protecting the way the state funds its
>road system.  It is a balancing act and it must be undertaken with care.
>House Bill 2328 will almost certainly be amended before going forward.  You
>can be assured I will carefully consider the proposed changes to this bill
>with a view of supporting but not hindering customer acceptance of the
>emerging electric vehicle fleet.  I will at the same time, however, make
>sure that electric vehicle operators pay a responsible share of necessary
>funding to ensure the health of the road system.
>From: Jon Balgley [jon at photodad.com]
>Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 12:28 AM
>To: Rep Read; Sen Hass; Sen Bonamici
>Subject: Electric car tax -- HB2328
>Hello --
>My name is Jon Balgley and I live in Rep. Read's and Sen. Hass's districts,
>respectively.  I have recently purchased an electric car -- it's an older
>car converted to all-battery power.  At some appropriate time, I would be
>happy to show the car to you and/or talk to you about electric cars in
>I strongly urge you to take appropriate action against HB2328 in its current
>form.  There are a number of reasons why this bill would be a bad law:
>1.  First and foremost, it sends the wrong message, at this point in time.
> Taxation can be used to encourage or discourage actions by citizens.  As
>I'm sure you're aware, increasing taxes will tend to discourage the taxed
>behavior.  I believe that as a society, we want to reduce the use of fossil
>fuels.  So as part of that, we want to encourage the use of electric
>vehicles -- especially here in Oregon where most of our electricity is
>generated from hydropower.  Adding taxes and potentially burdensome
>procedures will discourage the purchase and use of electric vehicles.
>2. Although its purpose is to "augment the fuel tax", I believe it will
>produce a net-negative revenue impact, and a net-positive impact on tax-free
>gasoline usage.  That's because it is written as an *option* for (up to
>5000) non-electric vehicles.  So the owner of any gasoline-powered vehicle
>can choose to pay $0.0143/mile instead of the $0.30/gallon gas tax (ignoring
>additional local taxes).  Why would someone choose to do this?  When their
>gasoline tax cost per mile exceeds $0.0143 per mile.  If you do the math,
>the break-even point is around 21 miles per gallon.  That is, any vehicle
>which gets LESS than 21 mpg, would pay LESS tax if they sign up for the new
>"electric car tax".  Many SUVs and large pickups get less than 21 mpg.  So
>we would be encouraging the worst offenders.  You can bet that people who
>drive the most inefficient vehicles will be the first to sign up!  And would
>*encourage* the use of those vehicles!  Balance that against the "less than
>1000" (according to the Oregonian) electric vehicles currently on the road,
>and which have limited range (will pay limited mileage-based tax) compared
>to gasoline-powered vehicles.
>3.  As proposed, this bill effectively taxes electric vehicles at much
>higher rates than gasoline-powered vehicles.  As shown in the previous
>point, the proposed tax is "break-even" for a vehicle that gets 21 miles per
>gallon of gasoline.  The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are rated by the EPA
>at 99 and 93 "MPG equivalent". So these vehicles would pay more than 4 times
>as much tax as a "typical" 21 mpg gasoline car.
>4. There are a number of less-important reasons why this bill would make a
>bad law:
> A. It specifies relatively draconian punishments for relatively small
> B. It does not account for the cost of implementation on the state's side.
> A complex new collection mechanism may cost more than the increase in
>revenues itself!
> C. It does not account for the complexities on the consumer side.  It seems
>like it might introduce a complex and/or burdensome new system.
> D. It does not account for the disproportionate damage to roads caused by
>heavier vehicles.  Road damage is exponentially related to weight (to the
>4th power!), but gas usage (and gas-tax revenue) is linearly related.
> E. It does not account for other factors that cause disproportionate damage
>to roads, such as the use of studded tires.
>Finally, I would like to say that it is beneficial to begin to raise these
>questions.  It's clear that the sponsor of HB2328 believes that electric
>vehicles will become popular enough to make a difference to Oregon's current
>revenue structure.  I look forward to that day, and when it comes, I will be
>happy to pay my fair share.  But for the reasons above, HB2328 would make a
>bad law, and I again urge you to vote or otherwise move against it.
>Jon Balgley
>5470 SW Dover Loop
>Portland, OR 97225
>Oeva-list mailing list
>Oeva-list at oeva.org

More information about the Oeva-list mailing list