Own an Electric Vehicle or Hybrid? You Pay More. Gas-Powered? You Don’t.

If there’s no need to raise the gas tax, why stick it to electric vehicle and hybrid owners? 

ND Legislature declines gas-tax increase for transportation infrastructure

The North Dakota Senate’s decision to vote down a bill to raise the state’s gas tax is completely incongruent with some senators’ contention that owners of #electricvehicles and hybrids need to pay a “road-use fee” to cover their share of road construction and maintenance.

If there’s no need to raise the gas tax, why stick it to EV and hybrid owners?

Backwards Bill Would Deter People from Purchasing Electric Vehicles – IV Words, Jan. 17, 2019

N Dakota Senate passes bill creating road use fee for hybrid and electric vehicles – Green Car Congress, Jan. 31, 2019

Despite pleas for road funding, North Dakota Senate rejects gas tax increase – Grand Forks Herald, Feb. 4, 2019

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© 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV
Photo illustration by Troy Becker, Grand Forks Herald


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North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill

A Senate committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a net metering bill introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44. The full Legislature should pass it, anyway. It’s the right thing to do.

SB 2322 Will Provide Universal Benefits

The N.D. Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a bill that would benefit farmers, ranchers, businesses, workers and homeowners. More importantly, it would limit negative impacts to the environment.

The committee heard testimony from environmental advocates, utilities and others on Tuesday, February 5, on Senate Bill 2322, which is related to net metering of electricity.

The purposes of the bill, introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44, are to make it economical for utility customers to install expensive renewable energy generation equipment and provide more equitable reimbursement for customer-generated electricity by utilities across the state.

Continue reading “North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill”

Another Take on EV “Road-Use Fee” Bill, SB 2061

Brad Magnuson, chair of the N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus, says so-called “road-use fees” aimed at EVs and hybrids are punitive & unfair. A bill that would impose one is currently in the N.D. Legislature.

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.

Continue reading “Another Take on EV “Road-Use Fee” Bill, SB 2061″

Backwards Bill Would Deter People From Purchasing Electric Vehicles

The North Dakota Legislature wants to deter people from purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids. It’s a bad idea.

Let’s Call These Proposed “Road-Use Fees” What They Really Are

They’ve got it backwards.

Six North Dakota legislators have introduced a bill that, if it becomes law, will rebuke North Dakotans who want to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles. SB 2061 would impose an annual electric vehicle (EV) “road-use fee” of $248 per year and $71 for hybrids.

Image of ND Senate Bill 2061, 2019, which would impose impose a $248/year "road-use fee" on electric vehicles

Bill supporters say it’s about fairness.

Gas taxes pay for construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, they say. Since EV owners do not buy gas, they should pay some other way. Otherwise, funding for transportation infrastructure takes a hit.

The state gas tax is $0.23 cents/gallon. The average American vehicle consumes 500 gallons of fuel per year. Given that, the typical North Dakota vehicle owner pays $115 in state gas tax annually. However, bill backers also want to collect the federal share of 18.4 cents, which brings the yearly gas tax to $207. That’s $41 less than the EV tax being proposed.

Since when does the state impose what amounts to a federal tax? And why the discrepancy?

The suggestion of a significant loss to state coffers is also a stretch.

A Drive Electric Minnesota analysis comparing gas and EVs “… found that the total amount paid by EV owners through the MVST (motor vehicle sales tax) and annual registration fees more than makes up for any loss of government revenue from the lack of gasoline fill-ups.”

Any funding reduction is miniscule, anyway; very few North Dakotans own EVs or hybrids. Rather than putting a dent in the need for infrastructure funding, these taxes would glance off without so much as a scratch.

So let’s call these proposed fees what they really are – taxes discouraging people from purchasing EVs and hybrids and penalizing anyone who already owns one.

North Dakota lawmakers are following counterparts in other states in introducing EV tax bills, which are supported by the right-wing nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to ProPublica, ALEC brings together “state legislators and corporate representatives to produce business-friendly ‘model’ legislation.” In November, ALEC adopted a resolution calling for “equal tax treatment for all vehicles.”

Now there’s a tidy euphemism for “deterring expansion of EV adoption and sales.”

ALEC allies are attacking EVs in other ways, too. According to Huffington Post, a group “…with fossil fuel backing hopes to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.”

They’re doing this at absolutely the worst time for erecting roadblocks to reducing carbon emissions.

Reports by national and international scientists, including a group in our own federal government, say cutting carbon dioxide and other emissions that result from fossil fuel consumption is imperative for the health of the planet. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, says we have only 12 years to stave off global catastrophe.

We should call the proposed road-use fee what it really is, a deterrent, and the Legislature should ditch this backwards bill in favor of more realistic ways to take care of our transportation infrastructure.

If you’re a North Dakotan and you agree, contact your state legislators and ask them to oppose SB 2061. To find their contact information, start here.

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© 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV