An open letter to Gov. Jay Inslee
I have some concerns about the way that taxes are being levied against owners of electric vehicles.
I have recently acquired a used Nissan Leaf to replace my internal-combustion engine vehicle. I opted to do this replacement specifically because I don’t drive particularly much, and I wanted to reduce my environmental impact primarily for maintaining a vehicle that I only drive minimally.
It is very rare that I drive even 1000 miles in any particular year, and usually it’s more on the order of 250-500 miles. As such, I was typically buying around $50 worth of fuel in a year, as an upper estimate.
So imagine my surprise when I got my first car registration tab, and was on the hook for $150/year in a gas tax offset! Given that the Washington State gas tax is assessed at a rate of around 13% of the cost of fuel, that’s a personal increase of around 2200% for me.
On top of that, the additional $75/year surcharge for building and maintaining more EV infrastructure is a bit shortsighted. I definitely believe that EV infrastructure should be developed, but it should be as an incentive for people to switch to EVs — meaning that it should be assessed to drivers of internal-combustion vehicles, not those of us who have already invested in making the switch. Or, at the very least, should be applied to the vehicle registration fees for everyone.
This infrastructure fee is even more concerning when the proposed charging costs will be the same as the commercial stations, the reason given being that they do not want to compete with private enterprise. In that case, why even bother providing a public infrastructure option, instead of simply encouraging more private charging stations to open up, or encouraging individuals to make their infrastructure available to others on services such as PlugShare?
The current tax structure is actually disincentivizing people from making a switch to electric vehicles, and only puts even more of a burden on those of us who have decided to help the planet.
Just to be clear, I do absolutely agree that those of us with EVs need to pay our fair share in maintaining road infrastructure. But it needs to be a fair share.
Thank you for your consideration.