Nick Howe, our club's VP, is Interviewed Regarding Proposed EV fees. (Public)

March 17, 2021 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Source:  Feng Cheng / Shutterstock.com

Nick Howe, the Vice President of our club, Florida Tesla Enthusiasts, was interviewed by Robbie Gaffney, a Multimedia Reporter with WFSU Public Radio, the local NPR member station of Tallahassee. 

Grant Program Proposal To Fund Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Advances In Florida Senate

(The web article also includes audio excerpts of comments by Nick, Senator Brandes, and Senator Berman.)

From the article:

"We're certainly, myself and the club, are in support of license fees for [electric vehicles]," Nick Howe, Vice President of the club Florida Tesla Enthusiasts, says. "We want to make sure that we pay our fair share. We're certainly not looking for any kind of free ride."

But Howe says the fixed fees aren't fair because it doesn't reflect how people are using their cars.

"If you're using your vehicle to undergo a few hundred miles a month, why should you be paying as much as someone who's doing more than a thousand miles a month," Howe says.

Howe says a better solution is to charge people based on their usage. It's something Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) posed to Brandes during a meeting on his bill:

"I've seen a couple of different analyses where they ask instead that the EV be taxed on the annual vehicle miles traveled. Have you considered using those formulas instead of a flat fee?"

The interview with Nick was in preparation for the article linked above, which covers the Florida Senate Transportation Committee. The meeting was convened to discuss two bills sponsored by Senator Brandes related to electric vehicles. Both bills were approved by the Committee.

Senate Bill 138 proposes requiring FDOT to establish the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program to provide financial assistance to encourage the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  The Program provides grants to State agencies, public universities, public transit agencies, ports, airports, and local governments, including local housing authorities and libraries.

Senate Bill 140 proposes a new electric vehicle (EV) Registration flat fee of $135 in addition to standard vehicle registration fees. If approved, the fee would take effect July 1, 2021. For plug-in hybrids, the fee would be $50. The revenue collected from the registration fees will go to funding the EV Infrastructure Grant Program.

Both bills must be enacted for either of them to take effect, and sunset at the end of 2030 to permit the legislature to reexamine the situation.

Nick's comments and our club were also featured in a Charged Magazine article by the magazine's Senior Editor, Charles Morris.

Florida legislature proposes a yearly tax on EV owners—again

Our Club's Position

We applaud Senator Brandes for his continuing innovative approaches to promoting Electric and Autonomous vehicles. However, we prefer an EV Registration fee amount more in line with what an equivalently efficient gas car would pay.

We appreciate that registration fees are a simple, stop-gap measure, and we support reasonable fees in the short-term. However, an unavoidable and critical concern is figuring out how to implement an equitable, long-term, mileage-based road usage tax that would treat all vehicles, regardless of their energy source, the same.

We are not alone in this view. Senator Brandes expressed a similar perspective earlier in an interview with Florida Politics.  

“The tax structure in Florida has got to change to deal with electrification,” Brandes said. 

"As more and more cars switch from fossil fuels to all-electric, Florida’s current gas tax system that funds much of the state’s road maintenance will become depleted. Instead, Brandes said the state should begin considering how to tap into other user fees. That would likely come by way of charging taxes not on gasoline, but on actual vehicle miles driven."

This, admittedly, is a complicated issue. Therefore, we believe now is the time for the state to fund a pilot study to be ready when electric vehicles inevitably comprise a significant percentage of the Florida driving public.

We will continue to track the progress of these bills through the Senate and the identical companion bills in the House.

We will be speaking out more on this issue, and we will be asking for your support to Advocate for EVs. Stay tuned.

Click the "Add comment" link below to express your views.


Larry Chanin

President, Florida Tesla Enthusiasts

email:        lfchanin@gmail.com

Website:    teslaownersflorida.org

Facebook:  Florida Tesla Enthusiasts

Twitter:     Tesla Owners Florida

Comments

  • March 18, 2021 12:26 PM | Anonymous
    I disagree with $135 flat fee or any other proposed mileage-driven fees with EVs. With other government programs in the works there should be enough state and federal funding to support charging infrastructure.

    I bought an EV to save $ not spend more. That includes registration, insurance, maintenance and operation costs.
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    • March 18, 2021 12:44 PM | Anonymous
      If they are going to implement the tax on usage. The tax should apply to gas and electric cars if its going to be fair for everyone.
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  • March 18, 2021 12:47 PM | S. Jones
    I think as an EV owner, we should bare a fair cost to road maintenance and upgrades. However, this $135 per year seems a bit much. Based on the current State Tax fees ($0.32625/gal) the $135 would be the equivalent of ~416 gallons of gas per year. A rough calculation at 12,000 miles/year would be close to a 29mpg average. While that may sound somewhat fair, why should I pay more than my neighbor with a car that cost half the price and gets 38mpg?
    However, charging by mile driven is not effective. If most of my driving is done outside of Florida, why should I pay for the Florida roads. The reverse is also true with a car registered in another state but spends most of their driving in Florida. They would not pay for the roads they use.
    The other item this bill would not address is the additional local gas tax by some counties/cities. Would EV owners be exempt from additional gas taxes applied locally? For example, Jacksonville is currently reviewing a doubling of the gas tax to pay for various projects. Without a guarantee within the bill that local governments cannot add on additional EV fees, I could not support such a measure.
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  • March 18, 2021 6:09 PM | Anonymous member
    It has historically been the practice of government to tax things that it wishes to discourage and not to tax (or tax much less) things it wishes to encourage. In view of the fact that most persons in our society recognize that there is an environmental crisis evolving, it would seem that the smart thing to do would be to INCREASE taxes of fossil fuels and not to tax EVs. In order to maintain revenue flow to pay for government services over time, the mix may have to change as fewer ICE vehicles are on the road and more EVs replace them. This is NOT the time to discourage EVs, however.
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  • March 19, 2021 2:53 PM | Dale Walker
    Yes, electric cars owners should pay their fair share of road maintenance in parity with ICE engine car owners. A flat tax is regressive and does not encourage conservation. Road wear is related to weight, not fuel efficiency. The tax should be based on mileage and be equivalent to the gas tax of an ICE vehicle of equivalent weight. At present, this would require owners to attest to or prove mileage. Tesla makes this easy with the phone app that has VIN & current mileage. For decades, Florida collected mileage at registration to combat odometer fraud, it's not new for them. Since connectivity appears to be a universal feature of EV's, the state might be able to get mileage from the manufacturers in the future for most cars.
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  • April 27, 2021 9:21 PM | Tripp
    I think the fee should be added onto the charging stations similar to a gas tax. Charge a certain amount per kwh and use that to help fund roads and charging infrastructure. As the infrastructure grows and more people use it, the revenue will increase. It doesn't take in account for those who charge at home, but I think those who are charging at home aren't driving as much as those who might regularly use a charging station. It's not a perfect solution, just a different one.
    Link  •  Reply

Florida Tesla Enthusiasts, Inc. is an enthusiast club and 501(c) 7 non-profit organization. It is registered with the Florida Department of State and is also registered to do business in Florida as Tesla Owners Florida.

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