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Electric Vehicle Registration Fees May Skyrocket

Do you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle? Do you breathe the air along the Wasatch Front?

If either of those are true, we encourage you to pay attention to the “Transportation Governance Amendments Bill (SB0136)” going through the state legislature.

It is rapidly making its way through the session and, as of February 13, will be heard by the full Senate in the coming days, followed by the House of Representatives.

Overall, we support the bill because of the many good things it would do for funding public transit and road improvements.  You can read more via the Salt Lake Tribune.

However, the bill also proposes significant increases in the annual vehicle registration fees for all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, which are troubling.

We encourage you to learn about the bill and contact your elected officials if you’re concerned about the high fees proposed on electric vehicles– a stymie to clearing the air– even though the bill offers other positive changes.

For an all-electric vehicle, your annual registration fee would increase from $44 to $194.

For a hybrid, the fee would jump from $44 to $65. For all other vehicles, the fees remain at $44.

It is only electric vehicles that are being targeted for annual increases.



SB0136 proposes to raise annual registration fees on electric and hybrid vehicles.

The rationale is that EV’s do not pay any (or as much) gas tax, so are not paying their fair share of road maintenance.

This is a fair point. However, there are a number of issues with this assessment:

  • Electric vehicles are lighter and more efficient than their petroleum-fueled counterparts.
  • On average, they are traveling fewer miles each year. All of this means they do not put as much “wear and tear” on the roads.
  • In the end, the proposed $194 annual fee is the equivalent to what a heavy truck, getting 22 MPG and traveling over 13,000 miles a year would pay in gas taxes.
  • Electric vehicles are an essential solution to local air quality issues.  Even when accounting for upstream electricity emissions, EVs reduce local pollutant types up to 99% along the Wasatch Front relative to a new gasoline vehicle.
  • There are currently roughly 4,200 EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered in state which is less than 0.45% of the total passenger vehicles in Utah.  
  • A $194 registration fee would give Utah the distinction of having the third highest fee on electric vehicles in the nation.
  • What would this mean for EV adoption in a state that desperately needs clean air solutions? Georgia ended its EV tax incentive in 2015 and imposed an annual registration fee of $200 and statewide sales fell by over 80%.

For those of us who care about clean air, the proposed EV fees are a significant set-back, especially coming the year after the state tax credit for electric vehicles was also rolled back.

As part of our commitment to clearing the air, Salt Lake City is actively working to support the expansion of EV infrastructure in our community.

We favor policies to incentivize electric vehicle ownership and clean air.

Therefore, we support no additional fees on electric vehicles at this point in time given their extremely low adoption rate and the urgent need for the enactment of clean air solutions.

If there is a fee, we believe it should be far less than originally proposed to accurately reflect electric vehicles’ superior fuel economy, miles traveled, and vehicle weight.

Find your legislators here.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sharon Vollett #

    It is ridiculous that in a city where the air is getting dirtier and dirtier and we are plagued by poor legislation. The fact is the tax for clean air vehicles should remain the same or be an incentive for peope to invest in,but we know where our legislature puts their votes in the lobbyists and corporate entities that are polluting our city. When will it change.

    February 15, 2018
    • We share your frustration. The City is making its voice heard on these matters on the Hill, but we don’t always get what we want. The more voices we add to the conversation, the better.

      February 15, 2018
  2. jack greene #

    I generally use my bike and bus for commuting, and LEAF EV on occasion for my health and our valley’s health considering we are a non attainment area for particulates. Also, I attempt to reduce my use of fossil fuels to control green house gas emissions and other pollutants associated with these fuels.

    In addition to the proposed $200 annual fee for driving clean, will i also be required to pay extra fees for using the bus and bike considering I’m not consuming gasoline or diesel for these modes of transportation?

    There must be other means for generating funds to maintain our roads than discouraging behaviors which contribute to a healthy environment.

    February 15, 2018
    • Thank you for doing so much to improve air quality and reduce your footprint! You make a great point. We don’t charge people extra to use the roads for public transit or bikes. We encourage you to spread the word and contact your legislators on this topic. The Mayor is doing the same.

      February 16, 2018
  3. Ken #

    Typical UT, reward the status quo and punish those of us trying to make things better. I drive a VW e-golf and take trax and bike for my local commuting and a have a camper van for camping trips and long drives.

    February 16, 2018
  4. Blake #

    My EV uses about 400 kWh of electricity per month. I pay a sales tax of about 10% on all electricity that I purchase. On top of that a new EV costs about 50% more than a similar gas powered car. And I paid an extra 6.85 % sales tax on that upcharge.

    Why don’t we increase the registration fees on all vehicles with a bad (low) smog rating? This would allow the polluter to pay.

    February 16, 2018

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