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The Legislature's Transportation Committee will hold a work session this Thursday on LD 1806, "An Act To Ensure Equity in the Funding of Maine's Transportation Infrastructure by Imposing an Annual Fee on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles." As proposed by the Maine Department of Transportation, the bill calls for extra annual registration fees of $150 for gas-electric hybrids and $250 for all-electric models to boost funding for the state's Highway Fund. In written testimony supporting the bill at the committee's Feb. 13 public hearing, MDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt pointed out that as more vehicles move away from “gas dependency and towards fuel efficiency,” the proposed surcharges would “be a way to capture revenue from these drivers, revenue that will support the very system they rely on daily.” But Barry Woods, director of Electric Vehicle Innovation at ReVision Energy, countered: “This tax penalizes good ideas and rewards old technology — technology which sucks money from our economy and pollutes our environment for our children and future generations … What we really need is a comprehensive review of new tax formulas that create adequate revenue while not unduly penalizing improved transportation technology.”
Do you support the proposed $150 annual surcharge for gas-electric hybrids and $250 for all-electric models?

02/21/18 AT 12:45 PM
The surcharge idea is fine, but it should not cost more than gas taxes for a fuel-efficient vehicle. We also need to raise the gas tax to pay for transportation infrastructure. Nobody wants to hear that, but it's true fiscal conservatism (take care of what we build and pay for it).

02/21/18 AT 04:56 PM
This act is completely ludicrous and Barry Woods has this called correctly. I would think that at some point excise tax would be reformed to actually tie taxable amounts to individual vehicle attributes (weight, usage, mileage, etc.). After all, excise tax funds are primarily used to fund road repairs/maintenance — and a vehicles weight, usage, mileage, etc. are the primary attributes that affect road conditions and needed maintenance. Tying excise tax to MSRP is ridiculous enough, adding additional lunacy like taxes for electric vehicles only serves to magnify an already unsound taxation structure. Not to mention that tying excise tax to MSRP basically creates the unconstitutional situation of dual taxation...

02/21/18 AT 03:39 PM
I have an all-electric car, not Tesla. There are currently only four fast-charging stations that I can use in the entire state of Maine. Fix the infrastructure in Maine so I can travel all over the state comfortably. Currently can only go 30 miles away from my home or a working fast-charging station. As all newer vehicles are now more fuel efficient, it seems like there needs to be a reasonable formula for all to contribute to our transportation infrastructure without charging electric/hybrid car owners more than gas and oil vehicle owners pay in the gas tax. I won't go back to the old outdated cars as am loving how clean my car is. It's really difficult to sit at a traffic light now, and be forced to breathe in exhaust from other vehicles. I want healthy clean air and water now for friends, family, tourists, wildlife, and future generations. As more and more people move toward new technology, we will need to review new tax formulas anyway. Let's do that now! And work on adding in charging stations in key areas that are solar or wind powered throughout Maine.

02/21/18 AT 03:38 PM
Not only is the proposed fee greater than what's collected for all-gas vehicles, hybrids and all-electric cars are lighter (less road degradation) but also put less pollution in Maine's air. Dump the pump and flush the fee.

02/21/18 AT 03:38 PM
I agree that electric and hybrid vehicles need to pay their fair share of taxes for road use. Whether this is an equitable amount would require some mathematics. At a tax rate of $0.30 cents per gallon of gasoline, a $250 charge per year on a car would equal 833 gallons per year of usage. At 20 mpg efficiency, that would be 16,667 miles of operating per year and at 30 mpg, 25,000 miles per year. You can interpolate the rest. Is this fair? Is this sufficient to fix all the roads?

02/21/18 AT 03:38 PM
Of course not. It is simply idiotic.

02/21/18 AT 02:27 PM
Yes, unless they do not use public roads.

02/21/18 AT 02:07 PM
$150/$250 is more than we pay driving gasoline-powered vehicles. Maybe a lower fee as a proxy to what the average 15,000-mile-per-year driver might pay in gas tax.

02/21/18 AT 02:06 PM
We should be doing everything we can to encourage new technology. Stop looking backward!

02/21/18 AT 02:06 PM
Until they hover over the surface they need to pay to use the roads.