IV Words Guest Post – Brad Magnuson

Today the North Dakota Senate voted on a second reading of SB 2061, “A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new section to chapter 39-04 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; and to provide for a legislative management study.”

The bill passed the Senate with a seven-vote margin and now goes to the House.

If it becomes law, SB 2061 will impose a $110 annual “road-use fee” on electric vehicles (EVs) and $50 for hybrids. That’s an improvement from the version of the bill IV Words featured a couple of weeks ago, “Backwards Bill Would Deter People from Purchasing Electric Vehicles.” That bill would have imposed a $248 fee for EVs and $71 for hybrids.”

Brad Magnuson, chair of the N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus, offers his take on “a bad bill,” even in its current form.

Personal logo of Martin C. Fredricks IV

Taxes on Electric Vehicles, Hybrids Already More than Gas-Powered Cars

Photo of Brad Magnusun, Chair, ND Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucusby Brad Magnuson, Chair
N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus

Road-use fees aimed at electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are punitive and unfair.

As of right now, there are 17 states that have imposed road use fees on EV, with nine other states still wrangling over this issue.

These fees range between $50 and up to $200, depending on the state, as well as the distinction made between all-electric or plug-in hybrids.

A lot of states make the argument that, because we as EV drivers don’t use gas, less money is going toward the upkeep of roads and bridges.

However, that just isn’t true.

In the majority of cases, the annual fees for electric cars are the same, and sometimes higher, than gas-powered cars.

The amounts of taxes paid by owners of EVs and hybrids are already high enough for states because the sticker prices on electric cars are high-priced from the outset.

Electric car owners pay far more in excise and sales taxes from the start, for example, more than owners of gas-powered cars pay. That’s because the tax amounts are based on retail values of the vehicles, which are far higher for electric cars than for gas-powered cars.

Beyond the normal taxes that buyers of electric cars pay for, they also are paying the taxes on the electricity that they use to power the vehicles.

So, road fees aimed at electric cars are punitive and unfair. Not only that, but gas cars also pollute our environment and contribute to climate change. Why aren’t they held accountable? States implement these road use fees on EVs and hybrids but do nothing to hold gas cars accountable for costs to society associated with pollution and climate change.

Further, these road-use fees do absolutely nothing to shore up budget deficits that state legislators claim they will fix.

We need to embrace the future, embrace electric cars, offer incentives and speed up the switch to cleaner cars.

To quote the Sierra Club, “If state legislators don’t want to prioritize fair fiscal laws, clean air, or closing budget shortfalls in meaningful ways, then they are forcing our hand. We are left with no choice other than to ban the sale of all gas-powered cars.”

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Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger (https://ivwords.com) nonprofit founder (https://theclimateknights.org/) and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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