Rep. Andrew McLean’s bill L.D. 1149, as described in the April 12 article “Bill calls for hybrid fees, gas tax hike to fix roads” (Page A1), is misguided. While I understand that hybrid and electric vehicle owners currently pay less gas tax than owners of traditional gas-engine vehicles, mandating that they pay a $200 annual surcharge is ludicrous.
Consider that, according to the Federal Highway Administration, the average Maine driver travels about 12,000 miles per year. If this driver’s car gets 23.6 miles per gallon of gas (average vehicle fuel efficiency), he or she burns just over 500 gallons of gas annually.
At the current gas tax rate of 30 cents per gallon, this driver pays about $152 a year in gas taxes. With the 7-cent increase in the gas tax proposed by L.D. 1149, he or she would pay about $188 a year.
Why, then, should hybrid owners (who currently pay about $80 in gas taxes annually, based on a vehicle fuel efficiency of 45 mpg) be charged an additional $200, thus paying significantly more than what an average driver pays? Similarly, why should an electric vehicle owner pay more than the average driver? The math doesn’t make any sense.
I do not drive a hybrid or an electric vehicle, and I do support having all drivers pay for the roads we share, but penalizing hybrid or electric vehicle owners specifically is foolish. If anything, we should incentivize citizens to drive these cleaner, more environmentally responsible vehicles.