As a hybrid car owner and climate advocate, here is my problem with HB2313, Governor McDonnell's transportation bill, and why I'm asking hybrid drivers, electric vehicle drivers, and non-hybrid drivers alike to take action in Richmond on Thursday, January 31st.
Two years ago I proudly became a hybrid car owner. A lot of thought went into the choice to go hybrid. I
am doing my part to control demand for oil by driving a fuel-sipping car, contributing to lower prices for everyone and to energy security. I have lowered the ozone-forming and planet-heating emissions I put out into the sky. And I am voting with my car payments, in a manner of speaking, in favor of the kinds of fuel-efficient vehicle options that I support.
I won't speak for others, but I think I'm typical in my reasons for getting a hybrid car, and I think I am also typical in wanting to avoid additional fees or paperwork imposed on me because of the type of car I drive. That's why I was stunned to hear that the Governor is proposing an increased registration fee of $100 on hybrids and other alternative vehicles. The General Assembly is at the risk of getting this seriously wrong, here is how.
Let's say Bob drives a conventional internal combustion engine car that gets 25 mpg and he logs 12,000 miles in a year. He would pay his share of the federal gas tax which is 18.4 cents per gallon, which comes out to $88.32.
And let's say Ken drives a 45 mpg hybrid car the same distance over one year. He would pay $49.12 in federal gas taxes. So all other things being equal, the difference between the taxes on the two cars is $39, so a fee of $100 on hybrids is a disproportionate burden, even before we take into account the many benefits of more efficient vehicles, or what are called positive externalities, like public health benefits from improved air quality.
Those drivers who are the most conscious of the need to embrace new technologies should be encouraged, or at least treated fairly under Virginia law, not penalized. It is particularly true that electric vehicle ownership already presents challenges given lack of charging infrastructure and a gap in knowledge about the technology, yet pioneering, intrepid EV drivers are stepping forward and moving Virginia into a more advanced age of clean transportation.
Speak out against fees on hybrids and EVs. Tell your legislators to change the Governor's transportation bill HB 2313 to remove these increased fees and send a message that Virginia promotes these fuel efficient and electric cars and turn out to the action on January 31 in downtown Richmond, the Hybrid Parade and Picket to Stop the Assault on Climate Solutions, because we can't let this pass without a fight.