The Morning Call

Elec­tric ve­hi­cle fee OK’d by Pa. House

- Business · Clean Tech · Ecology · Cars · Consumer Goods · Transportation · Automotive Industry · Electric Vehicles · Industries · Pennsylvania · Congress of the United States · Tom Wolf · Republican Party (United States) · Sierra Club · Electric Cars

Mo­torists who reg­is­ter an elec­tric ve­hi­cle in Penn­syl­va­nia would have to pay an an­nual fee, un­der lame-duck ses­sion leg­is­la­tion ap­proved by the state’s Repub­li­can-con­trolled House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Thurs­day.

The bill, backed by a 132-70 vote, still re­quires Se­nate ap­proval to reach the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Demo­crat. Most House Repub­li­cans voted for it, while most Democrats op­posed it.

The pro­vi­sions to im­pose the fee were in­serted into an un­der­ly­ing bill just this week. The Sierra Club, which op­poses the fee, said the “sur­prise move comes as the lame duck leg­isla­tive ses­sion comes to a close, and could be fast-tracked in the Se­nate with min­i­mal de­bate.”

Op­po­nents said it is a bad idea to im­pose costs on peo­ple who own elec­tric ve­hi­cles dur­ing the cli­mate change fight and ef­forts to limit green­house-gas ex­haust from ve­hi­cles that run on gaso­line.

Back­ers of the bill, how­ever, said it is only fair to charge peo­ple who own elec­tric ve­hi­cles, since peo­ple who fuel their cars with gaso­line are pay­ing taxes that help build and re­pair roads.

The money would go to­ward the state’s high­way main­te­nance fund.

The fee would be $75 per year for a hy­brid gas-elec­tric ve­hi­cle, $175 a year for an elec­tric ve­hi­cle and $275 for an elec­tric ve­hi­cle with a weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, such as a city bus. Own­ers of mo­tor­cy­cle and neigh­bor­hood elec­tric ve­hi­cles would pay $15 a year.

Pol­i­cy­mak­ers have warned in re­cent years that more elec­tric ve­hi­cles and more fuel-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles on the road will eat into gas taxes that pay for road constructi­on.

Twenty-eight states have laws re­quir­ing a spe­cial reg­is­tra­tion fee for elec­tric ve­hi­cles while 14 states im­pose a fee specif­i­cally on hy­brids, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Con­fer­ence of State Leg­is­la­tures.

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