With the growth in the number of electric vehicles on the road, state governments are beginning to look at ways to change the way they collect road taxes, and it will likely end up affecting everyone, not just EV drivers.
For decades. states have pushed gasoline taxes as a means to raise money to fix roads, bridges, and surface road infrastructure. The per-gallon taxes are a mainstay for states, counties and cities.
But, according to Bloomberg, the last time gas taxes and other road fee taxes — such as tolls — fully paid for road repair and maintenance was in the late 1960s. Since then, the taxes have been insufficient to actually fully pay for road maintenance. The rest of the money comes from general revenues, Bloomberg reported.
Needless to say, lawmakers have been yearning for a new way to tax drivers to help pay for the roads for decades, and it looks like electric vehicles are going to be their excuse to wallop us all with new and much higher taxes.
Most EV owners gleefully boast about how they don’t buy gas and, therefore, get to skip out on paying the gasoline tax the rest of us are forced to pay each time we fill up. But, their boasting aside, EV owners arguably put more wear and tear on our roads than gas-powered cars.
Electric cars are many times heavier than gas cars and that causes them to put greater wear on road surfaces. Some analysts are even worried that the thousands of pounds of extra weight thanks to the heft of battery packs and the extra steel needed to carry that weight, might even make EVs less safe on the road.
Regardless, since EV owners use the roads but do not pay gas taxes, state officials are starting to look for other ways to collect.
And as Fox Business Network noted on Sunday, states are looking for new ways to rake in more money, including taxes on EV charging stations, steeper electricity taxes from utilities, and taxes on package delivery services, among other ideas.
But the most insidious idea is a per-mile tax, on all drivers, regardless of what kind of vehicle they use.
“One proposal that seems to be gaining in popularity would be to charge drivers by the mile instead of the gallon,” Fox Business reported.
To date, three states, Oregon, Utah and Virginia are trying this concept in pilot programs. But, Fox Business adds that the federal government is also set to start its own pilot program.
According to Asha Weinstein Agrawal, the director of the National Transportation Finance Center at San Jose State University’s Mineta Transportation Institute, “there is growing support for mileage-based fees, special rates for low-income drivers and rates tied to how much pollution a vehicle generates.”
Oh, you can bet there is. And these taxes will be far, far higher than today’s current gas taxes. And these taxes will be put on everyone, not just EV drivers. Taxers smell blood in the water, after all.
President Joe Biden’s useless Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, spoke on the topic with CNBC in March 2021.
“So, I think that shows a lot of promise. If we believe in that so-called user pays principle — the idea of part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive — the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it,” the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said.
“It’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax, or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it,” he said.
There are many problems with per-mile taxes. First, they would disproportionately affect drivers in rural communities who have to drive farther distances more frequently.
On top of that, it would just be one more cost that will price those in lower economic tiers out of owning a car at all.
But there are many other concerns, too. Devices would be needed to be attached to vehicles to track use. But privacy activists worry that these devices are just another way to track people, where they’ve gone, how far they’ve traveled, and what cars they use.
As Politico reported in 2017, per-mile tax devices may contain GPS devices to track drivers and these taxes “face opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, which sees warrantless GPS tracking as a violation of personal privacy. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that using GPS to track a person’s movement without a warrant was unconstitutional.”
“The problem comes the minute you introduce a device in the vehicle” because Americans “do not want the government to know where they are and where they are going,” energy consultant Geoffrey Styles told NBC News in a 2011 report.
Who would, right?
But the whole thing smacks of a bait and switch. Biden and his green communists have sold EVs to Americans as a way to save money. Don’t buy gas, they said. Get “free” power by just plugging in, they said. Use a more efficient car to save, save, save, they continue to bellow.
And don’t even get us started on the fiction that EVs are environmentally safer.
But what will happen? Costs to drive will go up many times more than the gas taxes, electric rates will skyrocket — and many states won’t even be able to supply it all — and taxes will make driving costs prohibitive for more Americans.
It’s almost as if pushing Americans out of owning their own car and having the freedom of movement that entails was their goal all along.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.