As more and more people are turning to all-electric and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, there is a corresponding decline in gas tax revenue. And this creates a conundrum for the state Department of Transportation: how to pay for upgrading and maintaining our roadways.
Revenue from Washington’s 37.5 cents per gallon gas tax generates the largest portion of transportation funds, but only 8 cents of the revenue goes to funding repairs and maintenance, safety improvements on both highways and ferries, and congestion relief projects.
The Legislature started to address this problem in the last session with HB 2660, which imposes an annual electric vehicle fee of $100. Starting Feb. 1, owners of the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadsters and certain modified all-electric vehicles will pay the fee when they renew their vehicle registration.
That’s a good start, but it doesn’t address the loss of gas tax revenue as the number of vehicles getting 40, 50 and more miles per gallon increases.