Texas Is Charging EV Drivers $200 Per Year

State says controversial new fee will compensate for lost gas taxes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2023 7:15 PM CDT
Updated Aug 26, 2023 1:05 PM CDT
Texas Is Charging EV Drivers $200 Per Year
A Tesla electric vehicle is charged on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Westlake, Calif.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Starting on Sept. 1, drivers of electric vehicles in Texas are going to have to pay an extra $200 per year—and some see it as attempt to discourage EV adoption in a state with huge oil interests. The $200 annual registration fee, introduced in a law passed earlier this year, comes on top of the existing registration fee of $50.75, and buyers of new EVs will have to pay $400 up front. State lawmakers say the funds are needed to replace federal and state taxes, including taxes that fund road construction and repairs. But at 20 cents per gallon, Texas has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country, and the average driver in the state pays only $88 per year, according to Gizmodo. The state gas tax hasn't gone up since 1991.

"It just seems like it's arbitrary, with no real logic behind it," Tesla owner Tony Federico tells the Texas Tribune. "But I'm going to have to pay it." He says he bought the electric vehicle 5 years ago because he hates paying for gas. Some environmental advocates say the fee should be lower, while others say there should be no fee at all to help speed up the transition to EVs and fight climate change. "Any increased fee could create an additional barrier for Texans, and particularly more moderate- to low-income Texans, to make that transition," says Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas, per the Tribune.

The number of EVs in Texas has surged in recent years, but they still account for less than 1% of vehicles in the state. Some 30 states, most of them Republican-led, now charge registration fees for EV and research from Consumer Reports found that many of the fees are "punishingly high," Politico reports. Some GOP-led states have also introduced taxes at charging stations and limits on how EVs can be sold in what critics see as "speed bumps" that push back against the Biden administration's EV-friendly policies. Sara Baldwin at Energy Innovation says that while registration fees like the one in Texas won't make EVs more expensive to run than cars that run on gas, extra fees are a "psychological barrier" that could discourage people from buying EVs. (More electric vehicles stories.)

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