The revenue states receive from excise taxes on conventional fuels is a significant component of the budget for road and highway maintenance. But electric cars are not fueled with gasoline and diesel, so their owners do not pay these taxes. So some governments are looking for ways to solve this lack of revenue.
News of a somewhat controversial idea comes from the US state of Washington, where they propose a tax of 2.5 cents per mile. It will apply to highways, state and county roads, as well as city streets, but not to private roads not maintained by the state.
At the moment, the tax, called road use fee, is in Law No. 1832. If it is passed at all levels, hybrid and electric drivers can participate voluntarily from July 2026.
However, from 2030 the tax will be mandatory for all drivers. Washington state wants to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines starting in 2035.
Cars with combustion engines in the game even after 2035, but on synthetic fuel
Why would anyone want to volunteer for something like this? The state will waive the annual registration fee for these people, which can be as high as $275 (6,150 kronor). The average driver in Washington drives just under 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometers) a year, which means paying just $275 in new taxes for a fee of 2.5 cents per mile.
The question, of course, is how to determine the number of kilometers traveled on different roads. Suggested options include the vehicle’s IT unit, smartphone apps, or licensed private companies that would check the mileage on the vehicle’s display.
All of these methods have some weaknesses. Monitoring with an in-car unit is a risk to drivers’ privacy, and so is an app on a smartphone, and in addition, it would be necessary to somehow distinguish whether a person is driving or a passenger – or perhaps riding a bus. Mileage cannot distinguish between mileage in Washington state and elsewhere, or on private roads.
The idea of taxing miles traveled has another problem — it doesn’t in any way favor people who drive low-electric cars. So an alternative idea to offset lost income from excise taxes on fuel could be an excise tax on the electricity used to charge an electric vehicle.
Italy is critical of combustion engines ending in 2035, and wants to use the revision date
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