Last month, the Washington State Senate approved
a bill to assess an annual fee of $100 on electric and plug-in hybrid
vehicles. The measure is designed to offset lost revenue needed to
maintain state roads as demand for gas slows and gas-tax revenues
decline. Oregon legislators
have proposed their own scheme, which would levy a vehicle miles
traveled tax of 1.43 cents on all alternative fuel vehicles starting
with the 2014 model year.
These early efforts by state governments attempt to protect vital
revenue streams as disruptive innovations, like the electric car,
challenge traditional tax collection models. Today, drivers of
conventional vehicles pay about two cents per mile in combined state and
federal gas taxes.
Once highly fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles comprise a
significant portion of the state fleet, Oregon hopes to supplant its
existing gas tax with a new VMT tax system for all vehicles. Texas, too,
has proposed a VMT tax, and other states are following closely as they
consider putting forth legislation of their own. The tax controversy is
generating buzz as the New York International Auto Show kicks off this
week -- with a great number of electric cars on display.
It's a beautiful day in Manhattan. Little white triangles glitter
atop rooftop water towers while the streets below are filled with an
ironic stillness – as if the metropolis were hesitant to resume its
normal frenetic rhythm. Even a car park has a sort of mystic beauty when
everything is blanketed by ten inches of candescent powder.
course the streets are also filled with slush. Lots of it. If you're
careful, you'll avoid the brown tidal waves of melted snow, sediment,
and runoff that tend to submerge the sidewalks like the front row at a
Sea World production whenever anything larger than a stroller happens to
plow its way through.
At every intersection, there's a puddle
seemingly big enough to supply the entire island with local farm raised
fish for a week — but I manage to successfully navigate my freshly
pressed suit pants through the icy swamp.
At work I'm
flipping through the latest headlines: "Snowpocalypse," "Snowstorm
Wallops Northeast – Piling on the Misery," "Monster Snow." OK, really?
I'm sufficiently terrified now. Read an article or two and you'll think
that precipitation is a never-before-experienced phenomenon.
We’ve been hearing about the elusive electric car for quite some time now, and it appears to always be just around the corner.
Now, with Chevrolet’s Volt and the Nissan Leaf nearing production in the final months of 2010, it seems that electric vehicle (EV) enthusiasts, technology pioneers, and environmentally conscious consumers might finally have their way.
But if your inner skeptic is having doubts about whether the electric vehicle movement is simply a fad, or whether electricity will truly become a dominant fuel for vehicle propulsion, keep reading.