Electric car owners face new fee next year

Minnesota is joining a growing number of states to tack an extra registration charge on vehicles powered exclusively by electricity as a way to make up for lost gas tax revenue.

The new $75 surcharge approved by state lawmakers takes effect in January.

The fee is projected to bring in about $40,000 the first two years but revenue estimates more than double in the two years after that. The annual surcharge applies to what are called “all-electric vehicles.” They are able to draw power solely from rechargeable batteries, fuel cells or other electrical currents. Plug-in hybrids that still require some level of gasoline to run wouldn’t be subject to the fee.

House Transportation Finance Chairman Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, said it’s about fairness in who contributes to road maintenance.

“The impact on the budget of those surcharges on electric vehicles is very small at this point,” Torkelson said. “There just aren’t that many on the road. But we felt it was appropriate to kind of establish a baseline that we expect them to do their share, to pay their share for maintaining our system.”

Those vehicle owners don’t pay the gas tax, which supplies Minnesota’s highway construction fund.

Torkelson said the amount was chosen based on what other states were charging. Some assess up to $150 per year.

“We still felt we were being very reasonable about the amount we set,” he said, adding, “We’re not trying to eliminate electric vehicles or the advantages of having one.”

Under the law signed last week, the new surcharge will be directed into the road-maintenance fund.

  • HighBridger

    I wonder why those of us who drive gasoline-powered cars don’t have to pay to offset air quality degradation (or do we….not sure what gasoline taxes are ear-marked for)?

    • Natasha

      mostly road construction

    • Ralphy

      A free market solution – if there was a downstream/pollution fee associated with any and all consumer choices, from autos to energy to everyday consumables.
      The market would determine the cost of pollution, and polluters would pay to clean up their mess.

  • James White

    Wait until they start charging non-smokers for not paying tobacco taxes, or charging a fee to people that do not play the lotto.

    • John K

      Huh? Don’t electric cars drive on roads?

      • Leslie Browne

        Nah! they float above street level. 🙂

        • James White

          They are quite a bit lighter than gas cars, and do significantly less damage than most gas burning vehicles.

          If you are logic holds, then bicycles need to be paying road and side fees. So should people who are walking.

          This is the problem with fee based taxation. It’s not great for society.

          • danwat1234

            Usually electric cars weigh more than gas cars. They are great tho. Low center of gravity and lots of power

          • delilahdriver

            Wrong. Large banks of batteries are very heavy.

          • James White

            I suspect that will change over time as battery technology improves.

  • Fred

    That $40,000 will pay for maintenance of about an inch of expressway.

  • Pearl

    That is BS. MN ostensibly wants cleaner air, less pollution, etc. and touts itself as caring so much for the environment, yet it punishes those who actually move away from fossil fuels. Why not tax bicycles, too? Our legislators, repubs. included, tax, tax, tax. Sick of the same old system