SAN ANTONIO – There’s only a month left in this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, and some lawmakers and advocacy groups are hoping laws regarding new registration fees for electric vehicle can beat the clock.
It’s an effort to make up for lost gas tax revenue as more drivers opt for electric and hybrid vehicles.
The one farthest is along is a bill from House Transportation Committee chairman Terry Canales. It would impose a $100 yearly fee on electric vehicles, but also work to establish a statewide charging network. The bill has drawn the support of groups like the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG).
“What that means is that not only will electric cars be paying their fair share for the roads, but they’ll also be investing in the future for when that market share of electric cars is much greater,” said Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG director. “That’s really the only thing we need for more electric cars on the road is more infrastructure for people to be sure that they can get where they want to get.”
The Legislative Budget Board estimates the bill would provide a $31.9 million boost to the General Revenue Fund and a $90.9 million gain to the State Highway Fund over the next few years.
Other proposals would charge electric vehicle owners higher fees on average, $200 or even $300 per year. That would bring in more money for the state and counties. But some electric vehicle owners argued to state lawmakers last month that those fees would be too high and they already pay sales taxes on electricity.
“Every EV driver I’ve spoken to thinks we ought to pay our fair share for maintaining roads and bridges and building new ones if we need to,” said Tom Smith, with the Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance. “The question is what’s a fair fee.”
The two bills with higher fees are still pending in the House Transportation Committee, while Canales’ bill is awaiting a possible floor debate. It would still have to pass the Texas Senate before consideration by Gov. Greg Abbott.
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