[Oeva-list] Revenue Committee to meet again Tomorrow (Apr 15) at 8am to discuss EV tax

Jon Balgley jon at photodad.com
Thu Apr 14 16:40:39 PDT 2011

I am out of the country at the moment, here's a letter that I sent just now
to the members of the Revenue Committee:


Dear members and chairs of the House Revenue committee:

My name is Jon Balgley, and I would like to submit the following testimony
about HB 2328:

First of all, let me state that it's great to attempt to make all users of
Oregon's roads pay fees that are proportionate to their usage, and that I
understand that no fee or tax is ever 100% fair.

HB 2328 specifies two changes in taxes:

1. As currently written, taxes electric vehicles at $0.0143 per mile ($14.30
per 1000 miles).  That is in comparison to the state gas tax of $0.30 per
gallon.  It's easy to make a comparison of the two taxes to each other, if
you select a particular efficiency rate for a vehicle.  For example, if a
car gets 30 miles to the gallon, then it pays $0.01 per mile.  If it gets
60mpg, then it pays $0.005 per mile.  If it gets 15mpg, then it pays $0.02
per mile.  As you can see, (a) the gas tax is proportional to gas-mileage
efficiency, rewarding lightweight efficient vehicles and penalizing heavy
and/or inefficient vehicles; and (b) electric vehicles will be taxed as if
they were a gasoline vehicle getting approximately 20mpg.

I think it is important, at minimum, to set a rate for electric vehicles
that is proportional to their "MPG equivalent".  The EPA rates the Nissan
Leaf and Chevrolet Volt at more than 90 MPGe.  So the per-mile rate should
be substantially lower.  The bill as originally written set the rate at
$0.006 per mile, which, while not a perfect arithmetic match for these
typical MPGe ratings, is at least close.

2. As currently written, HB2328 allows up to 5000 non-electric (gasoline)
vehicles to optionally use the per-mile tax.  As you can see above, the
per-mile tax and the gasoline tax can be directly compared for a specific
vehicle.  It is a break-even for the vehicle at about 20mpg.  This clause
effectively allows vehicles which get LESS than  20mpg to pay LESS in gas
taxes ... effectively taxing them "as if" they got 20mpg.  Of course, if a
particular vehicle already gets more than 20mpg, then they would pay more if
they switched to the per-mile tax ... so they won't do that.

I think this clause is detrimental to Oregon, both reducing revenue and
increasing the use of inefficient (and likely relatively heavy) vehicles.

Note that if the per-mile rate is reduced, as per my recommendation #1, then
the detrimental effects of #2 are increased!  since   the inefficient
vehicles are then taxed as if they were an even-more-efficient vehicle.

I think this clause should simply be removed.  The gas tax, while not
perfect, provides a relatively fair way of tax gasoline-powered vehicles.

In addition:

* I think it's important to note that this IS a new tax or fee.  The revenue
impact statement from the transportation committee stated that it was not.

* I think the committee should carefully consider whether this is the right
time to implement this new fee.  The fiscal impact is estimated at about $1
million per biennium for implementation and management.  I have not yet seen
any estimates of the net revenue change.

In summary, my suggestions are:

* Reduce the per-mile rate back to the originally-proposed $0.006/mile, or
even a little lower to reflect the high efficiency of electric vehicles


* Remove the clause allowing the most inefficient non-electric vehicles to
pay a flat per-mile rate.

Thank you for your consideration.  Please feel free to enter this as
official testimony or to quote me.  I am traveling outside the country
today, and so will not be able to testify in person.


Jon Balgley
[address & phone]


On Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 7:23 AM, Gary Graunke <gary at whitecape.org> wrote:

> I was late getting there, but I did catch the end of the session. I talked
> to
> Barry Woods from Drive Oregon, David Stiers, and Jim Whitty.
> I plan to attend (on time) tomorrow, and probably will say something and
> have
> a written handout. While I won't pretend to represent the OEVA (we have to
> be
> careful regarding our tax status anyway), I do want to make our concerns
> known, even if it is our personal point of view.
> The chair did ask for more real EV driver input....
> I hope we can discuss this a bit this evening at our regular meeting. Let's
> try to get our comments organized.
> By the way, Jim Whitty told me that he is not married to the numbers, and
> really would like more time (he suggested 2016) to get the bugs out before
> implementing it. He would also like our perspective in helping craft the
> details to achieve public acceptance and not impede EV rollout. Many of the
> details will be decided by ODOT, and not specified in the law. So I think
> we
> should provide constructive input and have more influence on the outcome of
> the
> law and also the implementation details.
> The key point I'm making is that we need to be constructive--suggest
> improvements and provide rationale for them. Barry Woods did a good job of
> this, but there is a lot to say here and we have to be brief and
> to-the-point.
> Gary
> On Thursday, April 14, 2011 01:49:51 PM Lawrence Winiarski wrote:
> > I wish I could attend.   I think there might be a way to do it over
> skype.
> >   Info here (right hand side of
> > page)http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2011/HB2328/
> >
> >
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > -
> >
> > 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
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