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.

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.

Image of electric vehicle (EV) being chargedThe 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

I’m Takin’ the American Flag Back. Who’s With Me?

The American Flag is about Red, White & Blue, not Blue vs. Red. It’s mine, it’s yours, it’s ours. That’s why I’m takin’ it back. Who’s with me?

Patriotism is Red, White & Blue, not Blue vs. Red

I’m takin’ the American flag back.

For years, the “Grand Old Party” has been wrapping itself in Old Glory as if it has a stronger claim to patriotism, with the flag as its symbol, than anyone else.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, many non-Republican Americans have come to accept that, if not believe it. And somehow, somewhere along the way, people started equating those misguided perceptions with the idea that support for active-duty military personnel and veterans is wrapped up in the same narrative.

I’ve had more than enough of the suggestion that the flag serves or represents one party or ideology or citizen any more than any other party or ideology or citizen.

Continue reading “I’m Takin’ the American Flag Back. Who’s With Me?”

The Big Attraction

How to keep the Joneses and all their cash from driving on by on the new Interstate system? Enterprising business owners and chamber of commerce leaders pondered and pondered. Finally, an idea took shape. The Big Attraction was born.

Not long ago, National Public Radio did a piece about a free spirit who has created a mobile desktop publishing office and taken his show on the road. In the tradition of John Steinbeck and his faithful companion, Charley, this gentleman is traveling across the country, meeting folks and printing their stories.

Continue reading “The Big Attraction”