If anything will help sell Americans on the wave of new electric vehicles just coming to market it’s the idea of skipping the gas pumps. Makers like Nissan – which is just rolling its new Leaf battery car into showrooms – are quick to point out that you’ll pay barely 2 cents a mile for the electricity needed to charge up, compared to a dime or more to propel a comparable gas-powered vehicle.
But one reason you’ll save money is that you’re not paying the nearly 50 cents a gallon in federal and state gasoline excise taxes which, for the average vehicle, can add up to almost $500 a year in taxes. For cash-strapped governments that’s hard to ignore, and the State of Oregon has already established a committee to find ways to make up that money.
If your electric vehicle doesn’t pay its taxes at the pump you may eventually have to cough up cash some other way, perhaps, Oregon regulators are considering, by using a per-mile fee that could add another penny or two per mile.
But regulators aren’t the only ones considering that option. It’s an idea the insurance industry loves, as it gives them a chance to track not just how much you drive but, potentially where and how you drive.