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Texas joins list of states considering electric car tax

Texas is the latest to consider an extra tax on electric cars to make up for lost gas revenue, Ingram writes, helping to raise money for road maintenance.

By Antony IngramGuest blogger / January 29, 2013

An electric car is charged in Montpelier, Vt. Electric car taxation isn't an issue that's likely to go away any time soon, Ingram writes.

Toby Talbot/AP/File

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If you bought an electric car to try and save a few dollars on gas, you may start to find it a little more difficult in some states.

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Texas is the latest to consider an extra tax on electric vehicles to make up for lost gas revenue, helping to raise money for road maintenance.

According to state Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), increasing registration fees for electric car owners is "one of the options on the table", The Texas Tribune reports.

Such a scheme would follow on from similar arrangements considered by Virginia, and a $100 fee due in February in Washington state.

Much, like Virginia, Texas gasoline taxes have remained unchanged in 20 years, at 38.4 cents per gallon. 

The tax has failed to keep up with inflation, and failed to consider the increasing efficiency of vehicles--meaning revenue streams from gas taxation are waning.

Darby suggests that "electric vehicles that tear up our roads pay their fair share", though figures from electric car coalition Plug-In Texas say there are currently only 2,000 plug-in vehicles in the state--a drop in the ocean among the millions of gasoline-fueled vehicles in the state.

Plug-In Texas is worried that an extra registration fee will put off customers at a time when electric car adoption is still growing.

Russ Keen, spokesman for Plug-In Texas, says that many owners charge mainly at home, and already pay tax on their electricity. Some vehicles, like the Chevrolet Volt, do also occasionally use gas--further complicating the issue.

The group suggests that the outcome of such a tax is studied carefully, as it'll take a good few years for electric cars to have any negative effect on current gas revenues.

Electric car taxation isn't an issue that's likely to go away any time soon.

What are your thoughts on regular and one-off fees aimed at plug-in car users? What contribution should electric car drivers make to road maintenance revenue--and are regular taxes the way to collect it? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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