Although the elective vehicle (“EV”) industry is quite young, it is projected to grow at an extraordinary rate over the next few decades, thus posing a great challenge to the century-old automotive industry. However, most EVs are quite expensive to purchase — so expensive that most households cannot afford to buy them. To boost EV adoption, cut carbon emissions, and meet climate goals, governments have taken to providing incentives, tax rebates, and tax credits to make them more affordable.
That’s why a bill that was recently passed by Utah lawmakers has caused an uproar among environmental conservationists and green-energy proponents. House Bill 209, passed by the Utah House Transportation Committee, would more than double registration fees for most battery electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles in general starting next year. Specifically, the annual fees would increase from $120 to $300 for EVs, from $20 to $50 for hybrids, and from $52 to $260 for plug-in electric cars. On top of that, all cars weighing 12,000 pounds or less will have to pay a $44 registration fee each year.
According to Rep. Jeffrey Stenquist, the hiked registration costs are designed to bring the fees that alternative fuel vehicle drivers pay closer in line with what conventional gas vehicle drivers pay in taxes at gas pumps; the average vehicle in Utah pays around $380 per year in federal and state taxes at gas stations. These funds go into the state’s currently strained road fund, which is used to maintain roads. Pointing out that the state transfers $600 million each year to the transportation fund from the general fund, Stenquist says no one is paying their “fair share” right now.
Senator Wayne Harper said that while electric vehicles were important in terms of air quality, their drivers also have to pay for road maintenance to keep things equal. The bill, he says, is meant to ensure everyone in the state of Utah pays for the impact they have on state roads, not just individuals driving gas-powered vehicles.
However, Senator Suzanne Harrison argued that lawmakers should rely on data sourced from gas-powered vehicles to make policy decisions about EVs. She and other critics of the new bill fear making electric vehicles more expensive than they currently are may ultimately have untold environmental consequences. Utah already has what’s probably the worst air quality in the country, she says, and the bill would make the state’s EV fees the highest in the country.
Now that the state’s House Transportation Committee has passed the bill, it will need approval from the Senate and the full House to become law.
Despite such developments, EV sector players are executing their growth plans and making inroads into the automotive market. For instance, ev Transportation Services Inc. has a light-duty, fully electric vehicle that is ideal for last-mile deliveries in urban centers.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to ev Transportation Services Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EVTS
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