In late March 2019, Louisiana State Representative Stephen Carter introduced a gas tax proposal that includes a record-breaking $300 per year fee for all electric vehicle drivers. This fee would be the country’s largest, and would certainly impact the growth of electric vehicle ownership in the state. Unlike the gas-and-diesel portion of Representative Carter’s proposed gas tax, the EV portion also does not “ramp up” gradually over time – it immediately raises the fee to its maximum level from zero tax today.
Proponents of EV taxes argue that EV drivers should pay their fair share of road and bridge improvements, but the Carter bill and similar proposals in Mississippi and Louisiana are double what the average gas driver pays each year. These taxes are in addition to taxes already paid by EV drivers on their electric utility bills, so in effect they are double-taxed. The $300 proposed fee also does not account for the wide variety of mileage that EV drivers put on vehicles: most EVs are second cars that are not high-mileage.
In real terms, the Louisiana the proposed gas tax would amount to 20 cents per gallon in the first year and rise each year after. For a typical internal combustion engine, or ICE vehicle, that has an efficiency of 25 miles per gallon and averages 12000 miles per year, the 480 gallons amounts to $120 per year in gas tax. Compare this to the proposed $300 EV fee.
In addition to the EV fee, the Carter bill also proposes a $200 annual fee on hybrid vehicles. Again, the variety of mileage and usage differences with hybrid vehicles makes this fee arbitrary and excessive, and does not recognize the significant gas tax already paid by hybrid drivers. The $200 fee would apply whether the hybrid vehicle were a 12 mile per gallon Chevy Tahoe, or a 55 mile per gallon Toyota Prius. Assuming on average hybrid drivers have twice the efficiency of a standard vehicle, they are still paying half of the typical $120 annual gas tax, and should at most contribute another $60 per year toward infrastructure.
It should come as no surprise that across America, the organizations pushing these annual EV fees are funded primarily by anti-EV organizations such as Americans for Prosperity (AFP), American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Sixty Plus. All of these organizations are heavily funded by the Koch brothers empire, which is heavily invested in oil and gas firms and has fought EVs, renewable energy, and net metering at the federal and state level for years. The New York Times, EcoWatch and GreenTech Media have covered Big Oil’s attack on EV’s, and this is just the latest volley in a long campaign to undermine clean transportation.
Given Louisiana’s bottom ranking on quality of life (50th), job growth (47th), energy efficiency (50th), and life expectancy (51st), one would think that a new industry and technology would present a political opportunity for the legislature. With currently fewer than 2000 electric vehicles in the state, Louisiana is just scratching the surface of the possibilities of electrification, and stands to gain nearly zero income from the new EV tax. What is certain is that an outrageous EV fee in an early-stage market will put Louisiana at the bottom of yet another list, and send even more jobs that our state might have gained to Houston and Atlanta.
What can you do? Tell your legislator to oppose any EV fee that is not backed by facts, does not ramp up gradually, and that is in excess of a typical gas driver’s $120 annual contribution ($60 for hybrids). Tell them that a 3-year suspension of the tax would be prudent while the industry is still growing and ownership numbers are low. Your legislators WILL listen, but speak politely and firmly, and know the facts in advance. Find your legislator HERE, and follow these talking points:
- Electric vehicle (EV) drivers already contribute to the tax base through utility taxes
- A typical gas vehicle driver contributes $120 per year in gas tax
- EV drivers and hybrid drivers should not be double taxed and not taxed more than their fair share: $120 for EV and $60 for hybrid, respectively.
- Today’s EV drivers are helping advance a new industry in the state, lower emissions and create new jobs. They should be encouraged and not discouraged. A three-year suspension of the EV tax is prudent.
- The state should be advancing its own program for state vehicle electrification to save energy, lower emissions, and lower maintenance costs to the state, lowering bills for taxpayers.
Detailed information on the proposed bill, and other sources: