Comments about ‘Proposed fee increase for electric cars, others raises questions’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 6 2014 6:45 p.m. MST

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Spoc
Ogden, UT

Current tax structure is set up as a user fee. The more you use the roads (the more gas you use) the more you pay. The more fuel efficient vehicles become, the less money is available to maintain the roads. The same is true of natural gas cars. And despite our desire to encourage conservation and clean transportation, the better we get at it, the worse the roads will become unless we change the tax structure. Until we all adopt flying transportation, we will need roads.

Our options then are few. In order to prevent driving from becoming a luxury reserved only for the wealthy, all users of roads need to contribute. A fee equivalent to gasoline usage for electric and CNG users is one way to do it. Another is to take the big-brother approach and have the government monitor your movements and charge you by the mile. I suspect that would take some time and expense to implement and I don't know how popular that idea would be with the paranoid and libertarian and the anti-NSA crowd.

So, for the time being, this is probably the quickest and most simple remedy.

Yanquetino
Ivins, UT

We all need to maintain the road, but this solution does not correct the perceived "unfairness."

The current system is already unfair. I pay more road taxes to drive our Subaru than a Prius owner, since the latter uses half the amount of gas to inflict the same wear-and-tear on the roads. An extra registration charge for EVs is even LESS fair. If I drive 15 miles per day, yet a Tesla owner drives 60, why should we pay the same "tax" when the latter's wear-and-tear on the roads quadruples mine? And with plug-in hybrids? A Volt primarily uses electricity, yet has a backup gas engine. Should that owner pay both at registration AND the pump?

The entire system needs revamping. Forget paying road taxes at the pump or registration. Pay them via TIRE SALES. The more tires your vehicle has, the more tires you go through, the bigger and more expensive, the more you impact the roads and should pay accordingly. ALL vehicles, no matter the fuel or drivetrain, have tires --from motorcycles to 18-wheelers. The whole issue is one that could be solved where the rubber meets the road.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree with Sen. Harper and with both commentators "Spoc" and "Yanquetino".

Ironically, I also agree with the idea of encouraging more fuel efficient vehicles. But, there are many (perhaps too many) incentives in the form of tax-payer funded rebates, tax credits, etc. and if people can't be persuaded to buy "preferred" transportation for those reasons, then perhaps we need to encourage different types of transportation.

Finally, I want to give particular commendation to the proposed solution by "Yanquetino". It's hard to argue with the logic that a good metric for road usage, and therefore accurate taxation, is tire usage. At least until our long-awaited flying cars finally arrive on the scene. But then, of course, we won't need to pay for roads. :o)

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

They also need to tax bicyclists that consume 20-30% of the road and pay zero dollars towards the maintenance costs.

It's time for these "green" folks to pay their fair share. NO more free rides for them.

If you want to clear the air, then get the bicyclists out of the way, so cars aren't lined up behind them, burning that "evil" fossil fuel. Or get rid of the bike lane and allow cars to use it, to get to their destination in a more timely manner.

G-Day-M8
WVC, UT

On the other hand, Why give owners of hybrids or electric a tax credit? This fairness stuff is just crazy. We could all go back to horse and buggy but then the legislature would impose a flatulence tax to appease the greenies who want to save the ozone on top of being sued by pita for abusing our animals.

The reality is, electric power generation is also polluting our air or killing bats or turning beautiful wilderness deserts into reflecting mirrors to hail extraterrestrials.

Here's a novel Idea, charge a toll tax by reporting milage when you have your car inspected and either get a refund or a surcharge on your tax filing. Hooray! Everyones happy now.

rjwatson
BOUNTIFUL, UT

So, in our one-party government state, it is ok for a Republican to raise our taxes.

RP888
Layton, UT

It is true that those who have electric cars don't pay gasoline tax. They do however pay sales tax and there is no sales tax on gasoline. The current rate for sales taxes where I live is 9.9%. That compares with 8.1% tax on gasoline. (Utah average gas price 3.085 and tax of .25) How would it be fair to tax those using electricity even more. We are already paying more than those who buy gasoline. The only one that would think that was fair was the Petroleum Retailers Association.

RP888
Layton, UT

Perhaps we should also tax those who ride on buses. Those buses cause a lot more damage to the road than my little EV

ingslc
salt lake city, UT

Sounds like Sen. Harper likes two things: tax hikes and smog.

ingslc
salt lake city, UT

By this logic, anyone who doesn't smoke or drink should pay higher health insurance premiums because they aren't paying their fair share of the state alcohol and tobacco taxes??

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Question,
who pays for the electricity in public charging stations? does the driver pay, or is the cost borne by the government entity the put in the charging station? thanks

RP888
the problem with the argument you raise is those who buy gasoline pay a sales tax on all their other purchases. Did you mean to say the drivers of electric vehicles pay sales tax on their electricity? I missed that from your comment. If that is the case, it is still a poor argument as the sales tax is not dedicated to transportation like a gas tax or registration fee.

The idea of a mileage tax should be anathema to those who respect the right to privacy. How would you track it? Check the odometer every year and assess the fee? how would you be able to tell which miles were driven in-state vs elsewhere? you could not, without monitoring devices. Do we really want that?

Until someone comes up with a better one, rather than just complaining about this proposal, I think a higher registration fee is probably the best way to go.

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