An open letter to Gov. Jay Inslee fluffy rambles


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.

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Back home fluffy rambles


I made it back home today. My cats were briefly happy to see me, then insistent that what they really missed was going outside. Okay, then.

A thing occurred to me the other day: driving in a Nissan Leaf, especially on the highway, feels less like driving and more like piloting. It’s a very different feeling for me. And I like it.

Also ProPILOT made the whole thing way less stressful and I never want a car without at least level 2 self-driving ever again.

Port Angeles II, day 2 fluffy rambles


Last night I didn’t sleep very well because of asthma issues due to the fabric softener the AirBnB host used. So this morning I did a load of laundry and sent a suggestion to the host about not using fragrant fabric softener; she apologized for it and said that normally she gets fragrance-free but her wife had picked up the wrong stuff and she didn’t want to waste it. Not a huge deal, at least.

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Fully-introduced to the Leaf now fluffy rambles


When my Leaf arrived, the front camera wasn’t working, meaning the self-driving functionality was nonfunctional. Today I took it to the nearest Nissan dealership to get it looked at, and fortunately it was just that the camera had gotten disconnected somehow. 5 hours and $280 later (most of which will be reimbursed by Carvana) I have a car with level 2 self driving.

And holy moly, level 2 self-driving is weird, in a good way. It can’t handle all driving even in its limited situation (nor should it) but it does an amazing job of maintaining speed and safe following distance and position within the lane. And it always errs on the side of caution; if it doesn’t have a clear view of the lane markers, it turns off (and lets you know!), and goes into lane-keep alert mode instead.

There’s a bunch of road on the way home which has had construction going on for as long as I’ve lived here, and the lanes are all weird. When driving there, the lane-keep alert made sure I was aware I was drifting between lanes, but used a perfect level of tactile notification, which made perfect sense. And when lane keeping became available again, it was so surreal (but cool) to feel the steering wheel automatically turn for me.

It’s a really cool experience, and I feel like it’s implemented in a safe way that’s not likely to have the Tesla problem of just like, you know, randomly swerving into trucks/medians/oncoming traffic.

It handles all of the parts of driving that make me anxious.

Also having the full wraparound camera makes parking much easier.

So anyway. Yeah. I like it.

Changing cars fluffy rambles


I’ve had my current car, a Mazda3, for nearly 6 years. It’s a great car. I like it a lot.

But, there’s a few things I’ve gotten somewhat fed up with on it:

  • It doesn’t have all the safety features I want (especially lane departure notifications and collision avoidance)
  • It costs a lot to maintain given how little I drive it
  • Its cargo space isn’t very flexible (since I have the sedan version)

For a while I’ve been thinking about getting an electric vehicle, and recently I got the idea planted in my head that it would be worth switching to a Nissan Leaf.

Anyway, on Carvana, I found a 2018 Leaf SL with all of the safety features I want, and also it still has around 135 miles of range (supposedly) and its battery is still well under warranty, and the cost was only a little bit more than what Carvana said the trade-in value on my Mazda3 was.

So maybe a bit impulsively, I bought it. It will arrive on Friday.

My cost after trade-in is around $1000, and it only raises my insurance premiums by around $8/month. So, yay.

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