As the US gears up to add more electric vehicles on its roads, the tax that comes from gasoline vehicles will be falling in numbers and this can pose an issue for the vehicle infrastructure funding budget in the country. Part of the budget for these projects come from gas taxes which cannot be relied on going forward.
Though there is no one best solution to handle this issue, senators of US' Texas state are discussing a bill - Senate Bill 1728 - that calls for integration of electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles into the funding structure. As per the proposed bill, EV drivers would be charged between $200 and $250 for their cars each year at the time of registration or renewal of registration. This would make up for the gas tax that the EV owners are not paying.
If passed, the bill with the subject of "equalization for road use consumption for alternatively fueled vehicles", would come into effect from September 1, 2021. The bill states that the fees would apply to approximately 300,000 vehicles in fiscal year 2022 and raise around $37.8 million for the State Highway Fund (SHF), climbing to $135,594,000 in fiscal year 2026.
(Also read | Electric vehicles will be cheaper than petrol, diesel cars by 2027, claims study)
The proposed bill, however, is under scrutiny by various electric vehicle advocacy groups. As per a report by Car and Driver, the Plug In America group has a stance that policymakers shouldn't incentivize EVs on the one hand and punish them on the other. It notes that EVs still haven't crossed a certain threshold in the country and still need incentives to be promoted.
These EV advocate groups support road usage charge programs that are based on actual miles the EVs drive each year, instead of the annual EV fees, the report stated. Seven US states are conducting road usage charge tests for EVs with help from the US Department of Transportation.