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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Commentary: Let road user tax be simple

Commentary: Let road user tax be simple: "Sure, owners of conventional motor vehicles pay road taxes every time they fill up, now at the rate of 30 cents a gallon for the state, and 18.4 cents per gallon for the feds. So there’s some rationale for requiring electric vehicle owners to pay as they go as well.

But this takes a lot of technology, not to mention a debate about surveillance and tracking and Big Brother and all that.

How about keeping it simple instead and requiring owners of registered electric vehicles to report their mileage once a year? Along with the mileage report they’d remit the tax.

The proposed fee is 0.6 cents per mile (less than half the average for motor vehicles so as to encourage the use of electric rigs). If somebody reports that his two vehicles together ran for 18,000 miles since the last report, he’d remit the $108 in tax.

It’s not without its drawbacks. But if the penalty for stiffing the state and their fellow highway users is high enough, electic vehicle owners, a responsible bunch, would surely make sure that they pay their share."