The Alamo

The long, complicated struggle to integrate plug-in vehicles into the national fleet is playing out in the microcosm of Texas. The oil-friendly state has, somewhat under the radar, been laying the groundwork for electric vehicle infrastructure and the city of Austin is in the vanguard of plug-in vehicle advancement. While all this is going on, the state government is one that is still thinking about taxing EVs.

State lawmakers are tossing around the idea of boosting registration fees specifically for EVs such as the Nissan Leaf, the Texas Tribune says. No amount has been proposed for this extra fee, but Texas charges about $65 per light-duty vehicle in annual registration fees.

The ostensible reason for the fee is that Texas is trying to make up for a revenue shortfall caused by the fact that rate of the 38.4 cents per gallon of gas paid by Texas drivers hasn't changed in two decades, and average fuel economy has climbed, meaning more cars and less cash to fix the roads. EV advocacy group Plug-In Texas is preaching patience, saying additional fees for EVs would further hurt a nascent plug-in market, and that any fees should be applied further along in the EV-adoption phase. A reasonable gas tax increase should be considered, too, we suggest.

Next month, Washington State will start charging a $100 annual fee specifically for EVs, though not to owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Additionally, Oregon lawmakers are also considering a per-mile tax on EVs and highly fuel-efficient vehicles. The mileage of these vehicles could be tracked with GPS data and other forms of technology.