Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently signed the state’s transportation budget into law. Included in the budget are fees that will cost Ohioans who drive Plug-in Electric Vehicles an additional $200 a year and hybrids $100 a year. At a time when the vehicle industry is changing and innovating, these fees send Ohio in the wrong direction by discouraging clean technology and efficiency.
How did this happen? Repair and maintenance of Ohio’s roads and highways are funded in part by taxes on gasoline. State transportation officials argue more funding is needed to keep them in good repair. This is why the DeWine Administration and the legislature decided to increase gas taxes by 10.5 cents as a part of this year’s transportation budget. Raising gas taxes at the state level is fairly standard practice across the country when road funding is needed.
It’s that broader context that allowed the governor and legislature to tack on an excessively high tax or fee on EVs and hybrids.
And although many EV owners want to pay their fair share for good roads, there are numerous problems with the way high fees on cleaner vehicles were slipped through the back door of the much larger transportation funding issue. EV owners already pay a tax on the electricity they use as fuel. Levying uniform and upfront fees ignores the possibility that EV and hybrid drivers put fewer miles on their vehicles, and thus less wear and tear on the roads. Additionally, there are so few of these vehicles relative to gasoline-powered cars on the road that revenue generated by these fees will be minimal.
Indeed, the issue is complicated and could have used much more thorough policy consideration and public engagement before being written into law. For those reasons, please stay tuned as we dive deeper into the issue.