Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed S.B. 505 into law, which will nearly quintuple the annual cost of registering an electric vehicle (E.V.) in the state. Is Texas punishing its eco-friendly citizens, or is there a legitimate reason to charge more?
The new law adds additional fees for motorists registering an electric vehicle. Currently, registering or renewing a Texas car tag costs between $50.75 and $54. Starting September 1, any "motor vehicle that has a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less and uses electricity as its only source of motor power" would additionally be assessed a $200 annual registration fee. New E.V.s would require a $400 registration fee good for two years.
...But there is an underlying logic to the new rate hike. Under the new law, the extra revenue from E.V. registrations "must be deposited to the credit of the state highway fund." The highway fund, which builds and maintains the state's roads, is primarily funded by vehicle registration fees and the state gas tax. Historically, Texas drivers who drive a lot and put a lot of wear and tear on the roads bought a lot of gas, which means they paid for road upkeep through gas taxes. E.V. drivers don't pay the gas tax, but they do use the roads. Given that disparity, a higher registration fee is one way to ensure that everyone who drives also contributes toward maintaining the roads...more
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