‘User fee’ electric vehicle tax may be coming soon for Michigan residents

If you own an electric vehicle or are thinking about buying one, efforts are underway to impose a user fee on those EV’s.  FOX 2’s Tim Skubick reports the road-building industry is driving this move.

If you are one of the 10,600 drivers in the state who owns an EV, you’re likely saving a bundle by not paying the state gas tax at the pump.

Beware however, the days of that free ride may be numbered, if the road builders have their way at the State Capitol. Lance Binoniemi from the Michigan Infrastructure-Transportation Association, spoke about the inititative.

“I believe the general public wants everyone to pay their fair share,” Lance said.

The road builders are telling lawmakers if the EV owners don’t pay some taxes, the already declining road revenue problem will get worse.

Therefore, the industry wants lawmakers to adopt a system whereby motorists pay based on the miles they drive. It’s called the VMT – Vehicle Miles Traveled fee.

“We believe that is the most fair method into charging a user-fee base system for all users,” Lance said. “These electric vehicles, most of them, are heavier than normal combustion engines because of their batteries, and so, they are actually putting more damage in our roads without paying their fair share.”

Another option is a tax at the EV charging stations around the state.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has not endorsed any fee increase yet but has says that a “major policy” change is needed to replace the declining gas tax money.

At least 10 other states are looking at the odometer tax but the motoring public is worried about who sees this data and will government protect the privacy rights.

The industry promises there will be protections to block the sale of this data including not disclosing where you are driving.

“Certainly there’s going be some skeptical people out there that think more government monitoring where they are going, and there are going to be big brother aspects,” said Binoniemi.

At first, the VMT would be voluntary because making it mandatory, he thinks, would be a tough sell.

“I don’t know if the public will accept that,” he said. “So we believe the legislature should consider a vehicles-traveled miles study, and allow some volunteer within the system to start adapting to that, so they can tell their friends and neighbors this was no big deal. They’re not recording where I go.”

So perhaps coming sometime next year, will be a new fee system that hits all motorists no matter what you drive.