[Oeva-list] HB2328A update

Gary Graunke gary at whitecape.org
Sun Apr 17 21:04:50 PDT 2011


This just in from Jim Witty at ODOT...

The co-chairs of the House Revenue Committee have put together a legislative 
work group that will meet about Tuesday noon to draft changes to HB 2328 to 
resolve a number of concerns with the current language.  I do not know how the 
work group will resolve the issues but I do know the following issues will get 
attention.

* the rate structure 
* reducing the penalties
* maintaining confidentiality of information
* the eligibility of the 5,000 volunteers

I will let you know more as soon as I learn something I am permitted to 
release.

A work session on the bill is scheduled for Friday, April 22.
Sincerely,

Jim

===================
I got up at 4AM and put together my public comment. My comments were personal, 
and do not claim to represent the OEVA (not sure we can do this anyway as a 
501c3), but note that I did try at times to indicate views of others from our 
discussion the meeting. 

Larry also gave his comments, and a lobbyist from GM (who opposes it 
altogether).

I thought the session went pretty well. We'll see how things change in the 
next version...

This is what I handed out as written material to the committee...

Just to clear the air, avoiding  road taxes is not even in our thought process 
when considering an EV. If we made our David Letterman top 10 list for driving 
an EV, it would include national security, our balance of payments, the drain 
on our local, state, national economies, clean air, lower fuel costs, lower 
maintenance costs, massive torque (John Wayland), better handling from low 
center of gravity, instant response and other factors that make it fun to 
drive. Chris Paine, who did the movie Who Killed The Electric Car, has an A-Z 
list. Avoiding road taxes was not on it, either. For all the money I've spent 
on EV's and PHEV's, I could have had a Tesla Roadster, too. In Hillsboro, we 
all pay $3.10 each month on our water bill for road maintenance, and we pay 
for guarding the straits of Hormuz for which we get no direct benefit.
This flies in the face of the pay for use philosophy that this bill wants to 
promote.

We pay about 2 cents per mile for electricity which are about the same as they 
were in 1914, or the energy equivalent of $3.34 per gallon. Fortunately, we 
get 90 to 200 miles per gallon equivalent. And there is little to no drive 
train maintenance. While the ratio of road tax to fuel costs is high, it is 
not a burden. Perhaps the real problem with road revenue is that the 30 
cents/gallon has fallen from 20% when gas was $1.50/gal to less than 10% (and 
declining) of today's cost, while road maintenance costs increase with the 
price of oil like many other costs.

We have had lengthy discussions regarding the EV road tax. Some continue to 
want to link the tax to our fuel use (MPGe). However, personally, I recognize 
that the road does not know what kind of fuel we are using to power the 
vehicle. It does recognize the impact of the weight of the vehicle and the 
speed at which it is driven. Many of us feel that fairness in the EV taxes 
should mean that we pay the same road tax as the gasoline driver would for the 
same or comparable weight and size vehicle. My 1800 lb Insight, and my 3200 lb 
Prius/Leaf/Volt, should pay less than my future EV Rialta motorhome that 
currently gets 20 MPG on gasoline.  While there are electric Hummers as well, 
most EV's in the near future are smaller, efficient cars so that we don't have 
to spend so much on expensive batteries to get the range we want.

How to collect the tax:  for a low tech solution, we would prefer quartly 
estimated road tax payments (this seems to work for the income tax). The 
odometer could be checked periodically at DEQ or DMV offices, or just do it at 
our 2 year license renewal.  Gas cars need to have emissions checked, but 
collecting the road tax at the pump is easy. EV's need no emissions check, but 
we could bring it in for an odometer check at the same interval—imposing a 
similar burdenthat most of us are used to.

A flat fee has been done in the past—I paid $30 extra to register my first EV in 
Oregon. In those days, we had mostly heavy lead batteries. MyEV range was 20 
for my car, and 50 miles for an S10 with 52  batteries. Despite my best efforts 
to drive without gas, I only drove a mere 3000 miles per year. A flat fee does 
not recognize that some hobby or amateur conversions may have extremely 
limited range, and thus cannot be driven very much. 

As an aside, the confiscation and auctioning of vehicles seems to be rather 
drastic. Why not just not renew the tags on the vehicle—effectively disallowing 
its on-road use. Is this provision the same for gas vehicles?

When should we start collecting this tax? Suggestions include when EV's reach 
a certain percentage of the market, when it is profitable for the state to do 
so because there are enough EV's to justify it, and others. 

Finally, today EV's still cannot effectively use all of Oregon's roads—we 
cannot go where we go with gasoline vehicles. We have federal funding to 
install charging stations, but few exist today despite our best efforts. 
Perhaps it would be fair to only collect the tax when EV's can reach a certain 
percentage of our roads, or to reduce the EV rate in proportion to the 
reachable roads.

We don't mind paying our fair share. Some would be happy to pay a bit more at 
first, if it meant funding more infrastructure so that we can actually use all 
the roads and go all the places in the state that we normally go. 

Gary




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