GM Asks Washington State to Not Tax Electric Cars

General Motors sees proposed $100 electric car surtax as disincentive toward the purchase of an EV.

Published: 11-Mar-2012

General Motors earlier this week sent a letter to Washington Gov. Chris Gregorie asking that a proposed $100 EV surtax be removed from the state’s transportation bill (Senate Bill 6455, ESSB 6455) on the grounds that it will create a disincentive toward the purchase of an EV. The proposal currently excludes vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt, which can run part of the time on gasoline.

Proponents of the surtax argue the fee is needed to offset losses in state gas tax revenues since EV owners don’t need to buy gas. GM believes this proposal is misguided and will hurt sales and market adoption of EVs. The small number of pure EVs on the road at this point have a negligible impact on state revenues, GM argues.

Electric vehicles are a promising new and evolving advanced technology. Independent studies consistently conclude that price is a barrier to adoption of the technology, this concluding the need for incentives...Conversely, a fee which singles out electric vehicles will be a disincentive to the growth of the electric vehicle market in Washington State.

As a practical matter, there are currently so few electric vehicles on Washington’s roads today that their impact in replacing fuel tax revenues will, for now, be negligible. Finally, on the question of fairness, broader consideration should be given to assuring that taxes and fees fairly relate to the use of the system and that they are technologically neutral (i.e. do no favor certain technologies over others). ESSB 6455 does not contemplate any of these important questions.

...We believe that all beneficiaries of the system should pay their fair share of the costs for preserving, operating and improving the statewide transportation system. To that end, we applaud you intent to commission the Road user Future Funding Task Force, and we stand ready to be a contributor to the process.

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