Oklahoma legislators file bill to tax electric car owners for highway use

 

Under a bill filed in the Oklahoma legislature, EV operators will have to pay their fair share of taxes for the maintenance of state highways.

The DRIVE Act, House Bill 2234 targets electric vehicle operators who don’t pay fuel taxes. It was filed by Bristow Republican Rep Kyle Hilbert and co-authored by State Reps. Brian Hill, R-Mustang; Dustin Roberts, R-Durant; Avery Frix, R-Muskogee, Todd Russ, R-Cordell, Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, Nicole Miller R-Edmond; and State Sens. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole; and James Leewright, R-Bristow.

“Currently, this infrastructure is funded largely with fuel taxes that road users pay at the gas pump,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “As more Americans transition to heavier electric, battery-powered automobiles, a greater burden is placed on our state’s fuel tax revenue, which inevitably will begin to decline.

The legislators said their bill is aimed at equity and should not be considered punishment of EV operators and users.

The bill includes a tax per kilowatt hour at public for-profit charging stations.  The tax would be $3.50 or less to charge a vehicle with a 50KW battery, compared to $3.04 tax for a driver refueling a 16-gallon gas tank on a car or truck. There would not be a tax on an EV operator who charges the vehicle at their home.

A second part of the DRIVE Act would create an annual vehicle registration fee on electric vehicles to the average fee of a comparable car powered by gasoline. The fee would vary based on vehicle model so a two-door EV car would have a lower fee than a 4-door electric pickup truck.

The bill also includes a provision to avoid double-taxing Oklahomans for the taxes paid at public charging stations.

Revenues from the bill will be placed into the Driving on Road Infrastructure with Vehicles of Electricity Fund to supply Oklahoma’s existing ROADS fund.

“It has taken many years and much input from stakeholders to reach this point,” the lawmakers said. “Thankfully, we have a framework in place with this legislation to ensure Oklahoma will have adequate funding for our transportation infrastructure for generations to come, and that all users will contribute equally to its success.”

Source: House press release

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