(The Center Square) – The Florida Senate Transportation Committee met Tuesday in Tallahassee to discuss fees to be imposed on Floridians who drive electric vehicles.
The committee was tasked with working out reasonable charges based on what type of electric vehicle was used. Pure battery cars would have a higher charge than a hybrid that uses an internal combustion engine along with the battery.
According to committee chair Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, legislation has been introduced in 31 states in the past three years to impose new registration fees on electric vehicles.
The definition of an electric vehicle in Florida is a motor vehicle powered by an electric motor that draws power from rechargeable storage batteries, fuel cells, or other electrical power sources.
Road maintenance is paid for by the state, which collects most of its taxes through an excise tax on petrol and diesel at the pump. EVs currently have a regular registration fee, but the state wants an additional fee for EV users for their share of road maintenance.
Chief Legislative Analyst for the Senate, Cindy Price, gave a presentation on vehicle registration fees in the United States and how they are levied in Florida.
Price stressed the need for a clearer definition of electric vehicles in Florida, since those who drive electric vehicles that also use a combustible engine are actually still paying road taxes by purchasing fuel.
“The claim is that by paying traditional registration fees, EV owners may not contribute fairly to the cost of constructing and maintaining public roads,” said Preis.
According to Price, 31 states currently have some form of special registration fee for electric vehicles.
Across the country, the cost ranges from $75 to $200, and 18 of those 31 states are also evaluating whether these vehicles run on a combination of electricity and fuel. Fees for these types of electric vehicles range from $45 in Iowa to $100 in Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and West Virginia.
In Washington, the fee for a plug-in electric vehicle is about $225 per year, and Oklahoma bases its fee on vehicle size and weight. Idaho was considering legislation in 2021 that would have increased EV registration fees to $300.
Some states are also already establishing fees for construction and maintenance, and include the installation of more charging stations.
One proposed solution was a road user-like charge, ie a charge for every kilometer driven. Pennsylvania levies an alternative fuel tax calculated on a gallon equivalent basis. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury, the tax rate for electricity in 2023 is 0.0183 per kilowatt hour.
Legislation is likely to be tabled once the committee has enough information and is able to work through the various nuances surrounding EV use.