Thursday, January 9, 2014

HB 4: Annual Tax on Electric Cars

Virginia's House Bill #4 offers a very small bit of relief for drivers of hybrid cars:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB4

The heading calls it "A BILL to amend and reenact § 58.1-2249 of the Code of Virginia, relating to repealing the annual license tax on hybrid electric motor vehicles." 

Then the actual proposed legislation says:

"58.1-2249. Tax on alternative fuel.

A. There is hereby levied a tax at the rate levied on gasoline and gasohol on liquid alternative fuel used to operate a highway vehicle by means of a vehicle supply tank that stores fuel only for the purpose of supplying fuel to operate the vehicle. There is hereby levied a tax at a rate equivalent to that levied on gasoline and gasohol on all other alternative fuel used to operate a highway vehicle. The Commissioner shall determine the equivalent rate applicable to such other alternative fuels.

B. (Contingent expiration date) In addition to any tax imposed by this article, there is hereby levied an annual license tax of $64 per vehicle on each highway vehicle registered in Virginia that is an electric motor vehicle, a hybrid electric motor vehicle, or an alternative fuel vehicle. However, no license tax shall be levied on any vehicle that (i) is subject to the tax on fuels levied pursuant to subsection A, (ii) is subject to the federal excise tax levied under § 4041 of the Internal Revenue Code, (iii) is a moped as defined in § 46.2-100, or (iv) is registered under the International Registration Plan. If such a highway vehicle is registered for a period other than one year as provided under § 46.2-646, the license tax shall be multiplied by the number of years or fraction thereof that the vehicle will be registered. The revenues generated by this subsection shall be deposited in the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund.

B. (Contingent effective date) In addition to any tax imposed by this article, there is hereby levied an annual license tax of $50 per vehicle on each highway vehicle registered in Virginia that is an electric motor vehicle. If such a highway vehicle is registered for a period other than one year as provided under § 46.2-646, the license tax shall be multiplied by the number of years or fraction thereof that the vehicle will be registered."

I think I get it...the idea is strictly to make sure that hybrid cars aren't taxed twice. Hybrid cars still run on gasoline and will still be taxed on that.

I like this bill, merely and entirely because it exempts mopeds (which use very little gas, and are otherwise much less harmful to humans than cars are) from the license tax. The position of this web site is that mopeds should be treated like bicycles--tax-free, license-free--so that they become the primary means of transportation for people travelling too far to walk.