Friday brought a piece of that plan to light with an announcement of another electric battery-making plant in our state.
It comes on the heels of a plan from the Dept. of Transportation to expand infrastructure. Part of that plan is to potentially increase the yearly registration fee on electric vehicles.
“What that means is everybody paying the same thing,” TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley said. “So, electric vehicle owners contributing the same amount that gas combustion owners would pay.”
Currently, electric vehicle owners pay nearly three times less than gas owners. The gas tax equates to roughly $300 a year while the yearly fee for electric vehicles is $100. If the TDOT plan passes the General Assembly, then they’d pay the same amount of around $300.
So that begs the question—is that less of an incentive to get an electric vehicle?
“I don’t think it is,” Eley said. “I think we know the data that demonstrates its general parity to be able to do that now.”
Of course, the debate depends on who you ask.
“The whole point of having an electric vehicle is that it’s better for the environment, and I think you want to keep the incentive there so people keep buying those electric vehicles and you have a cleaner environment,” driver Rory McNabb said. “So, by upping the fee, I think you’re de-incentivizing them.”
“I don’t think it’ll decrease the want for an electric vehicle because the increase is not that significant,” driver Don Chaplin said. “But it sounds like it’s kind of a focus on discouraging people to purchase electric if it’s going to cost more to buy one.”
The potential fee isn’t set in stone—it could change over the next month should TDOT change its plans.
“We want to make sure that there’s a fair fee for everyone,” Lee said. “We’ll figure out what that number is and move forward.”
The next step is for legislators to package the plan into a bill and then present it to the General Assembly for passage once session starts in January.