It seems some misguided members of the North Carolina General Assembly have a retrograde checklist for energy bills this session. Block coastal wind energy projects? Check. Make solar energy projects more expensive? Check. Hike registration fees on electric and hybrid cars? Also check.
New proposed legislation in the state Senate would make North Carolina the most expensive state in the nation to drive hybrid or all-electric vehicles. Senate Bill 446 would add a new fee on hybrid vehicles, and more than double the existing fee for all-electric vehicles. These fees would then rise by about $50 a year for three years.
Bill sponsors claim the intent is to make those cars’ drivers pay for road maintenance, since they pay little to nothing in gas taxes which provide road revenue. Apparently, the value of reducing air pollution and the other environmental benefits of lower oil consumption don’t rate consideration. But on top of that, electric car owners already pay $130 per year on top of their regular registration fee, which is more than the estimated $100 average they would pay in gas taxes if they owned a combustion-engine vehicle. So they are already paying more than their fair share.
Despite opposition, SB 446 passed through its first Senate committee review last week. Conservationists will continue to oppose efforts to discourage adoption of cleaner vehicles by making them more expensive to drive.
To get news like this in your inbox every Monday, please sign up for our Conservation Insider Bulletin newsletter!