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Archive for Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sloan’s proposal for an electric car fee met with skepticism

January 24, 2012, 11:55 a.m. Updated January 24, 2012, 2:25 p.m.

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— Using less gas is an advantage for the few Kansans who've bought electric cars, but a state legislator worried Tuesday about how the state will pay for road and bridge projects if consumers flock to the vehicles and stop paying gasoline taxes.

Rep. Tom Sloan's solution is for the state to impose a new fee on the power used by electric car and hybrid owners when they charge up their vehicles, either at home or in public charging stations. But a bill the Lawrence Republican is pushing received a cool reception during a House Energy and Utilities Committee hearing.

General Motors Co. opposes the idea, and a spokesman suggested such a tax could discourage electric car sales and help kill the industry in its infancy. Legislators also worried that car owners would be forced to spend hundreds of dollars to install separate meters in their homes.

But Sloan argued that Kansas should consider imposing such a fee before electric cars become a regular feature on the state's highways. GM said only two dozen Chevrolet Volts are registered with the state, and Sloan wondered aloud during his testimony how difficult legislators would find it to impose a new fee once electric cars and hybrids number in the tens of thousands in Kansas.

"Whether it's 24 Volt owners in Kansas or 24,000, should they be paying to use the roads on which they drive?" Sloan asked the committee. "If not now, when?"

The committee took no action on Sloan's bill, and Chairman Carl Dean Holmes, a Republican from Liberal, said he's not sure whether the measure will come up for a vote. Skepticism about it was bipartisan.

Under Sloan's bill, consumers who charge their electric or hybrid vehicles at home would be required to have a separate meter to track how much electricity they use. The Kansas Department of Transportation would set the fee so that it is equivalent to the state's taxes of 24 cents a gallon on gasoline and 26 cents a gallon on diesel. Sloan believes it could amount to less than 1 cent for each kilowatt hour of electricity.

GM spokesman Jeffrey Perry, who testified during the hearing, said the company knows of no state that has imposed such a tax. Washington state last year considered but rejected a flat $100 annual fee for electric cars.

Spokesman Lindsey Douglas told the committee that the Kansas Department of Transportation is concerned about relying heavily on motor fuels taxes to finance road and bridge projects in the future, because revenues are likely to decline as even gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles become more efficient. But she said the agency is waiting to see what ideas emerge around the nation.

Perry said imposing a new fee is premature and would send the wrong signal to consumers about whether they should buy electric vehicles or hybrids. Such a tax also would discourage auto manufacturers, he said.

"If we're not being shown that there's backing behind this by the state legislatures, why would we want to continue supporting this technology and pushing forward if what we're being told is, we're going to tax this to its death before it ever gets a chance to survive?" he said.

GM's concerns were an issue for some committee members, because its plant in Kansas City, Kan., employs about 3,900 workers.

"At a time period when we're trying to create jobs, we're attacking one of our best employers in the state," said Rep. Stan Frownfelter, a Kansas City Democrat. "We could be alienating one of our best friends."

Comments

Pastor_Bedtime 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm awaiting the subsequent tax on solar panel users, who are depriving the utility companies of revenue.

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tange 2 years, 2 months ago

Would there be a tax-reduction loophole for drivers who agree to make only right turns?

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coderob 2 years, 2 months ago

You can run as many cars a year over a bridge as you want, and barely see any damage, but put one overweight semi on the bridge and it will be deficient in no time. Anyone from KDOT could tell you that. A major solution is to get tougher on truckers who go over the weight limit. The challenge is that the trucking lobby is quite powerful, and will beat down the doors of any politician who suggest new regulations.

The other option most transportation experts support is a tax on VMT (vehicle miles traveled). The advantage is that VMT has shown reliable gains over time. People drive more than they did 40 years ago. Increase the gas tax now, and we'll only have to increase it again once fuel efficiency improves enough. Plus, messing with the gas tax is political suicide, so really continuing with our current system of funding in any form is bound to leave us with underfunded transportation infrastructure.

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pace 2 years, 2 months ago

separate meter? Wouldn't it make more sense to just add a road tax on tags for electric cars.

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patkindle 2 years, 2 months ago

our president says, the US must reclaim values of fairness for all this means folks with enough money to buy a new electric car should be exempt from road fuel tax, and the poor folks that just have gas burners can pay the way for the electric cars , sounds fair to me

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verity 2 years, 2 months ago

A wind turbine in everybody's backyard.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

The electric car is not pollution free although cleaner burning however Kansas will also need to clean up the sources of electric energy.

While I understand what Rep Sloan is wanting to accomplish who will pay the cost for separate meters? Westar will love that one more opportunity to screw over ratepayers. So why not try to put it on vehicle personal property taxes instead? I cannot trust Westar.

While global warming has been a concern for many many many many many many many decades some things are for certain:

  1. Never before has there been billions upon billions upon billions of humans polluting planet earth

  2. Never before has there been billions upon billions of gasoline burning vehicles spewing pollution into the atmosphere

  3. Never before has there been billions of homes demanding energy from polluting sources

  4. Never before has there been billions of buildings demanding energy from polluting sources

  5. Never before has there been billions of polluting energy generating sources

  6. Never before has there been billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions of humans clearing the rainforest for meat products and not knowing the long term impact of massive tree removal.

  7. Never before has planet earth been expected to absorb tons and tons and tons and tons of pollution with human beings having no idea what the the hell the impact might be

  8. Never before has there been billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions of human beings believing THEIR pollution is having zero impact ....... can we say ignorance is bliss.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 2 months ago

rockchalk...Sloan is a Republican.....of course you wouldn't know that.... thinking isn't necessary right? besides no road taxes means no slt road. awesome.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 2 months ago

As I see it when electric cars become more numerous the gasoline road tax should decline as the electric car road tax increases.

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 2 months ago

How many Democrats does it take to change a light bulb?

One to change the bulb, six to talk about how wonderful it's going to be when the new bulb is screwed in, and ten to argue for increased funding for solar lighting research.

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patkindle 2 years, 2 months ago

this is stupid a poor guy barely has enough money to buy an electric car, now the state thinks he should pay fuel tax? next thing you know they will make it illegal to plug into your neighbors out let

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Gandalf 2 years, 2 months ago

Will electric cars get a tax credit for reducing emissions? Maybe the two would cancel out.

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profound 2 years, 2 months ago

This is a stupid idea. I'd use my generator to charge my car.

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Gandalf 2 years, 2 months ago

Reublican plan, elimnate taxes on the rich and make Kansas the land of the fee.

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Liberty275 2 years, 2 months ago

"Using less gas is an advantage for the few Kansans who've bought electric cars"

Yeah, a car that runs on coal instead of gas is a real advantage. LOL.

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2 years, 2 months ago

Besides the fact that the proposal is asinine, I noticed two big problems with his proposal.

From the article:

"The Kansas Department of Transportation would set the fee so that it would be equivalent to the state's 24-cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline. Owners of electric cars or hybrids would be required to have separate meters at their homes."

Setting the fee so it would be the equivalent of the current 24 cents/gal on gasoline. What would he suggest they do, compare the weight and design of a similar gas-powered vehicle and charge the 24 cents based on that? Would I have to wait until the car is completely drained, then charge it up? This creates even bigger government. Better yet, it creates a privatized government-type entity over which the government (read as people) has no control. I thought the GnOP was against bigger government.

Being required to have a second meter just for the car. Hmmm, who pays for the installation and wiring? What if I live in an apartment or other rental? What about the degradation in the value of my house because of unwarranted structural (wiring) changes. What if I move, do I have to pay to have a new meter installed in my new house?

Note to Paul Sloan.

Good God Man! Think things through before you raise an issue. People already look at Lawrence with a jaundiced eye. You're a Republican, one of The Guv's "Good Guys", and you still propose an additional tax? tsk tsk, what will he say?

As a note, the Koch's want to consolidate their purchase of the Kansas Government by "donating" $36,000 to defeat 8 incumbent Republicans. Since the Koch's are KS big oil and you don't want to offend them, are you trying to make sure you're not a 9th? (http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/jan...)

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Plurilingual 2 years, 2 months ago

"The Lawrence Republican's bill would create a new fee on the power electric car and hybrid owners use to charge up their vehicles. . . . Owners of electric cars or hybrids would be required to have separate meters at their homes."

My hybrid gets its battery power from the gasoline engine and regenerative braking... I hope this proposed legislation is at least smart enough to understand that. Regardless, it is an idea that I don't like and wouldn't support.

Of course, if he tries metering at my home, my meter will read a big fat ZERO every month.

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somedude20 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey Sloan, why don't we just weigh every driver (or every person who has a driver's license) and make them pay by the pound. I mean, some fat bloke that weights 340lbs is going to put more stress on our infrastructure than my 165lbs butt would.

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suzchase 2 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Blessed4x 2 years, 2 months ago

As far as the fee is concerned, of course owners of electric vehicles should pay a road fee. They are using the road, but not paying for the upkeep. If they are requiring a seperate meter, then just tax the electricity used at that point like the gasoline is taxed when purchased. Now if you wanted to find another way to fund the repair and reconstruction of the roadways without general taxes, then I may consider that as well.

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Keith 2 years, 2 months ago

What's a Republican doing raising taxes? He's going off half-Koched.

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Blessed4x 2 years, 2 months ago

"Owners of electric cars or hybrids would be required to have separate meters at their homes."

What does a new meter installed on the side of your house cost? I know to install a meter on a new lot is around $10,000. Surely it wouldn't be that much. If it's even in the ballpark, that's a huge discouragement to owning an electric vehicle.

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situveux1 2 years, 2 months ago

I think we should continue to subsidize them with tax credits until they get popular then slap them with a new tax. The government way.

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Agnostick 2 years, 2 months ago

Couple of solar panels, a hefty battery or two, bypass the grid altogether (for charging the car at home, at least)

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Kendall Simmons 2 years, 2 months ago

Of course, at some point, this will become a legitimate issue.

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verity 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe we should wait until we see how many electric cars are going to be used?

But of course this would discourage the use of them.

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profound 2 years, 2 months ago

Can we have a meter and a rebate for the gas we generate?

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sourpuss 2 years, 2 months ago

"fewer gas taxes" please. If you add an "s" to a word to make it plural, please don't use "less." "Less" is reserved for amounts you can't count. Fewer=number, less=amount. Less smoke. Less cheese. Less money. Fewer fires. Fewer pieces of cheese. Fewer coins. Fewer people.

Taxes are a number so: Fewer gas taxes.

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