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State Senate passes bill charging electric vehicle owners annual fee

State Senate passes bill charging electric vehicle owners annual fee

Wednesday, Pennsylvania Senators voted to charge owners of electric vehicles an annual fee. 

Senate Bill 656 amends Title 75 to require owners of noncommercial passenger electric vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of under 14,000 pounds to pay an electric vehicle road user charge. The annual fee to drivers is $290 and will be paid with the registration fee.

The fees collected will go into the Motor License Fund for highway maintenance and construction.

In May, President and CEO Rebecca Oyler wrote a letter to the Chairmen of the Senate Transportation Committee in support of the bill. In it, she writes: 

"This legislation will simplify the process and ensure electric vehicle owners are paying their fair share towards the Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure, just as individuals who drive gas powered vehicles contribute towards fuels taxes... 

Approximately 75% of PennDOT’s highway and bridge funding comes from federal and state gas tax revenue, which continues to decline. Fuel economy improvements and the transition to alternative fuels and electric vehicles—positive trends in themselves—will continue to reduce gasoline and diesel consumption, and, therefore, the revenue from the Liquid Fuels tax... The current projected growth in electric-powered vehicles is steep, with corresponding declines in gas tax revenue...

Senate Bill 656 provides a means for operators of electric vehicles to pay for their use of the system as they do not pay gas tax which funds highway maintenance and construction in our Commonwealth."

Electric vehicle owners can pay the fee in full by credit or debit card, electronic funds transfer or check or money order to the department or enroll in an electronic payment plan of $24.17 per month by credit or debit card or electronic funds transfer to the department.

The bill passed by a 49-1 vote and now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration. 

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