Trucking Think Tank Floats ‘Electricity Tax’ for Electric Vehicles Instead of Mileage Fee

Arlington, VA – A prominent trucking research group is suggesting a way to capture revenue from electric vehicles (EV) without implementing a mileage tax.

On Wednesday, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released research outlining a framework for an “electricity tax” on EVs which would then be directed into the highway trust fund (HTF).




 

According to ATRI, U.S. electric utilities are well equipped to begin collection of a per-kWh charge of 2.1 cents for transportation-related electricity consumption in the coming years.

The report details how using a phased approach, utilities would identify, measure and tax electricity that is used for transportation – starting first with electricity that is dispersed through public charging stations and residential smart chargers.

“This analysis demonstrates how an electricity tax can easily emulate all the key components of a fuel tax,” said Paul Enos, CEO of the Nevada Trucking Association. “Moving forward with an efficient utility-based approach will help EV owners support the infrastructure that they use every day.”




 

EVs do not currently contribute substantively to state and federal highway trust funds. In fact, ATRI points out there are numerous programs that subsidize the use of EVs, thus “exacerbating the infrastructure investment deficit.”

ATRI’s analysis quantifies this revenue loss at more than $4 billion over the next 10 years.

Some policy makers support moving away from a federal fuel tax to taxing drivers by the mile or a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) fee.

Proponents of the VMT tax argue relying on tax revenue generated from diesel fuel and gasoline consumption to fund infrastructure maintenance and development is not a long-term solution due to the expected widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the next decade.




 

However, earlier this year, ATRI released a study which found that replacing the federal fuel tax with a VMT tax that is assessed on 272 million private vehicles could result in collection costs of more than $20 billion annually – or 300 times higher than the federal fuel tax.

Additionally, the report found that hardware costs alone would have an initial price tag of $13.6 billion and require ongoing replacement, telecommunications costs would be approximately $13 billion annually, and account administration would be an additional $4.3 billion each year.

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