Texas WILL Be Charging EV Owners $200 For Not Paying Gas Taxes

Government / 36 Comments

The state house voted unanimously to pass the bill.

Owning an electric vehicle in Texas is about to get more expensive as the state house unanimously voted to pass a bill that will enact a $200 annual fee, according to The Dallas Morning News.

As reported a few weeks ago, the bill aims to pass a tax on EVs similar to the gas tax applied to ICE vehicles at the pump to fund road infrastructure in the state. The bill is now on its way to the desk of Governor Greg Abbott for approval, where we imagine it will be signed into law almost immediately.

Although unanimously voted for with a margin of 145-0, the bill has been criticized by groups and people who believe it is unnecessarily expensive and the lack of vehicle discrimination could hurt EV adoption. This means whether you're driving a GMC Hummer Pickup or Nissan Leaf, you'll soon have to shell out the same amount of tax.

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Infrastructure needs to be maintained, and currently, the gas tax makes up 29% of the Texas highway funds. If you use the roads, you should pay for them, but is the $200 annual fee too steep when a Consumer Reports study found that the average ICE vehicle only pays $71 in tax a year?

Texas has a 20-cent per gallon gas tax that, in 2015, generated $3.4 billion. On top of this, the federal government taxes 18.4 cents for gas and 24.4 cents for diesel per gallon. With a 38.4 cent per gallon combined gas tax, a base model 2023 Toyota Camry driving 15,000 a year will pay about $180 in taxes.

This new EV tax is strictly for the state, and it's already $20 more per year than the hypothetical Camry mentioned above. If the federal government decides to enact a tax, owners in Texas will pay even more.

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By 2025, these sums will only make up a small portion of the state budget at .3%. This is Texas we're talking about; the land of freedom, guns, and massive gas-guzzling pickup trucks, and the 20-cent gas tax hasn't been raised since 1991.

At the very least, the gas tax is fair: you pay depending on how much you drive and how fuel efficient your vehicle is.

A flat fee plays by different rules, and one this expensive definitely warrants questioning its validity when states like California only charge $108 for the same thing. The obvious solution is a usage-based metric, but people will not sign up to be tracked.

The tax could be based on EPA-estimated fuel consumption figures, but as we recently discovered, the way EV consumption is measured is horribly outdated and needs a revamp.

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Or maybe, the $200 is fair. Perhaps it isn't going far enough. Maybe EV owners should pay more along with raising the gas tax because our country's infrastructure is failing.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, more than 45,000 US bridges and 1 in 5 miles of roads are in poor condition. If Texas can only squeeze 29% of its budget out of over 7 million cars, there's a fundamental problem with the system and how we fund our infrastructure.

The federal government attempted to remedy this situation with a package that consisted of $621 million for roads, bridges, public transit, and EV charging stations, but this is a far cry from the $2.6 trillion the American Society of Engineers says will need to bring our country up to code. Texas is but one piece of a much larger problem, but doing something like this is at least a start.

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