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Electric-car owners in Wash. face $100 annual fee

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 24, 2012 at 9:06 am •  Published: December 24, 2012

"I think it's wrong. You pay taxes on the electricity, it's not like they're getting away for free," said Joe Lambrix, who lives in Olympia, owns two electric cars, one of which may likely be subject to the fee. "... You're trying to do something good and they still find a way to get revenue. It's unfortunate."

Washington's gas tax stands at 37.5 cents per gallon, and is the state's largest source of transportation dollars. It costs the average motorist, driving roughly 12,000 miles in a vehicle that gets 23 mpg, about $200 a year.

Jay Friedland, legislative director for Plug In America, a California-based electric car advocacy group, said "$100 isn't that big of a deal, but it's not well-balanced policy."

"EV drivers really want to pay their fair share but it seems ridiculous from a policy standpoint," Friedland said. The state on the one hand has given out sales tax exemptions to encourage residents to buy more electric vehicles, while charging the fee on the other hand, he said.

The group urges states to consider charging drivers based on the vehicles miles traveled and the weight of the vehicle. He said electric vehicles have the added social benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence of fossil fuels.

Nelson said he bought his electric vehicle in 2011 because he's a proponent of alternative energy and figured the Leaf was ideal for commuting the five miles between his home and work. "I've owned enough of the fossil burning type, I figure I should do something green and clean," he said.