The State of Maine is currently proposing a registration fee be given to owners of battery-electric vehicles and hybrid cars. If bill L.D. 1806 goes through, Maine will become one in 11 states that add this charge to environmentally-sound drivers. In fact, should this bill pass, the state will have the highest EV levy across the United States at $250, exceeding the tax charge of $200 by Michigan and Georgia. The proposed fee for hybrids is at $150.
The Department of Transportation and Governor of Maine support this bill and justify it under the same idea that other states who have implemented such a fee: which is the fact that gas taxes support infrastructure and road repair funds and those who don’t have to pay for gas, don’t pay their fair share when it comes to road use. Surprisingly enough, even California, a state known for its super-green policies, is planning to charge about a $100 fee to EV and hybrid owners, commencing in 2020.
In addition, Autoblog reported that the highway maintenance fund in Maine has taken approximately $100 million per year over the past two years to deal with its shortfalls, and still is $60 million annually in the hole. Should EV and hybrid owners pay the fees proposed, Maine will only be in the red by about $2.9 million, annually. The hybrid and EV drivers in Maine represent about three percent of the state’s cars, with a little over 19,400 cars.
A state rep, along with the governor, have two other ideas for increasing the revenue around infrastructure; however, both don’t have good chances of passing. The governor is clear on his stance of refusing to increase the gas tax, which was hiked up to 30 cents each gallon, seven years ago.
Of course, EV and hybrid drivers, as well as environmental groups in Maine, aren’t too thrilled about the bill. They believe they are deliberate targets, where the state is not truly addressing how underfunded their highway budgets are. Both the Maine Audubon Society and The National Resources Council of Main oppose the bill, stating it relays a terrible message around the U.S.’s energy priorities, where in some instances EV and hybrid owners would be paying more taxes that those driving traditional cars.