Statement on Virginia's Hybrid Vehicle Fees

March 28, 2013

The Governor has made his amendments to the transportation funding bill (HB 2313) and if approved, Virginia will soon have the nation’s only explicit hybrid vehicle tax and one of the country’s highest electric vehicle registration fees. This comes at a time when Virginians are paying record fuel prices and transitioning away from foreign oil is more important than ever.  While the Governor’s final amendments to the transportation bill are welcome and the reduction in the hybrid fee from $100 to $64 is certainly an improvement, this new annual $64 registration fee is in addition to the tax already paid by hybrid drivers on gasoline. By our review, this additional fee is approximately four times what a hybrid Civic owner would save in gas tax compared to a traditional Civic.  This targeted registration increase is seen by many as punitive tax on efficient vehicles.

This new fee on hybrid vehicles comes at a time when we should be transitioning away from foreign oil to more domestic forms of energy. Virginia can do better, and we should continue to have a comprehensive dialogue on our transportation energy use.  While other states invest in incentives for domestic clean fuels, our high fees may hold back the innovative leadership of our entrepreneurs and early adopters of clean technologies. Although forward thinking legislators and administrative officials have invested a significant amount of time in developing a comprehensive transportation funding overhaul, there is clearly significant work to do to communicate to a greater diversity of decision makers.

-Alleyn Harned, Virginia Clean Cities