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

Lawrence Winiarski lawrence_winiarski at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 13 21:10:55 PDT 2011

Thank you very much for writing.   That was an outstanding letter.
I see that he claims the tax is .6 cents/mile.   I see that is in the "introduced" version of the bill it is .6 cents/mile, but the house amendments change it to 1.43 cents/mile

(search for 2328)
Here's a direct link to the amended (and approved version)http://www.leg.state.or.us/11reg/measures/hb2300.dir/hb2328.a.html
Nowhere in the latest version does it mention 0.6 cents/mile.   It only mentions1.43 cents/mile

Could it be that the chairman doesn't even realize what what he approved?   
All three versions are on the oregon legislature site AND the oregonlive site.
Something is very fishy here.   I listened to the audio and whitty (the road usertask force guy...and probably the only guy even writing the thing down) said"verbally" he changed the fee to be "equitable"
My guess is they screwed up and didn't even realize what they approved (the vote wasverbal and of course as you can see, pretty verbose to say the least).   The road usertask force guy is probably the only guy who even really knows what he wrote.  Everyoneelse is just taking his word that he is being reasonable.
Also, at least 3 members voted "no".   So this is far from being a done deal.   (Ifwe keep fighting)
I'm pretty sure this guy Brian Whitty is likely just trying to make his pet projectof getting rid of the gas tax a reality.   That's why he wants to let the 5000 other ICE vehicles join in on a plan, which is gonna be a massive step backwards for movingtoward fuel efficiency....He likely doesn't give one whit (or is it "whitty") about electriccars, which is why he moved the rate to probably the "average" gas economy.
Again...this will be great for gas guzzlers....lousy for fuel efficient cars.
I'd keep the letter and write him back and let him know of the error.   Perhaps thenext committee could at least fix it.


If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world.

Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall 023934

--- On Wed, 4/13/11, Jon Balgley <jon at photodad.com> wrote:

From: Jon Balgley <jon at photodad.com>
Subject: [Oeva-list] Fwd: Electric car tax -- HB2328
To: oeva-list at oeva.org
Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 3:36 PM

---------- 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 general.

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 infractions.

  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


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