The Lone Star state isn't the only state considering this.
The idea of Texas, or any other state in the union, applying a special tax to electric vehicle owners sounds kind of absurd. But there is a logic to it. Texas lawmakers have just introduced state Senate Bill 178 that if passed in its current form, will require EV owners to pay an annual fee of between $190 and $240. Owners who drive their EVs over 9,000 miles a year will be slapped with an additional $150 fee. Plus, there'll be an annual $10 surcharge to help fund EV charging infrastructure.
So, how does this make any sense? Because EV owners don't fill up their vehicles with gasoline or diesel and, therefore, aren't paying a gas tax. This bill is simply a way to help make up the difference. If passed, the bill would take effect on September 1, 2021.
Lawmakers came up with these tax figures following an analysis done by the state's Comptroller's office and the DMV. Approximately 300,000 vehicles will receive these fees for the 2022 fiscal year resulting in a revenue gain of $37.8 million for the State Highway Fund. By 2026, this figure would increase to almost $136 million.
Not surprisingly, EV owners throughout Texas are not happy about this. Tesla has yet to comment. Ironically, it's currently building a massive new factory near Austin that will build the Cybertruck and Model Y upon competition. Texas is also truck country and there's a wave of new EV pickups on the way, led not only by the Cybertruck but also the just-revealed Ford F-150 Lightning.
Not all EV owners and EV clubs are outright opposed to this so-called "EV tax," but they do believe the fees are too much. Other states have EV registration fees that cost considerably less with some as low as $50. Texas lawmakers are basically trying to get EV owners to pay more than ICE drivers in order to help fund that infrastructure. Some will correctly argue EV customers have already received benefits, such as the $7,500 federal tax incentive but, as of right now, automakers like Tesla and GM have run out of credits. Both are lobbying the Biden administration to reinstate them.
Texas is keenly aware EVs are the future but imposing higher fees in relation to combustion-engined vehicles may not be the best long-term solution.