Electric car drivers could pay gas tax

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Owning a hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel car may save some Hoosiers money at the pump, but if some state lawmakers have their way, you will be taxed each year for owning a clean energy vehicle.

State Lawmaker Randy Frye wants Hoosiers to consider clean energy vehicles. He supports the use of natural gas as a motor fuel.

Along with the push to go green, Frye says there is a necessity to create a new tax.

“All of us need good roads and we have to pay for those roads one way or another. Unfortunately, that is a tax,” said Frye, a Republican who represents Indiana District 67.

The problem Indiana is facing is each time you fill up your gasoline tank, 16 cents of every dollar pays for road repairs and improvements.

As more and more people switch over to hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel cars, the money the state receives from sales at the gasoline pump gets smaller and smaller.

State Representative Frye of Greensburg authored a bill that requires owners of alternative fuel vehicles to pay a road use tax.  He expects electric and hybrid cars will be added to the bill.

“What we are trying to accomplish here is no matter what vehicle you are using, the tax is the same,” said Frye.

Electric car owner Keith Payne hadn’t heard about the proposed tax. He and his wife recently purchased a Nissan Leaf which gets between 80 and 100 miles to the gallon. 

Payne likes the idea of cutting back on gasoline dependency and understands the dilemma the state is facing when it comes to diminishing tax revenues at the pump. But he questions if now is the time to start taxing car owners like him. 

“I think it may be a little bit early figuring out we need to tax it because we don't know what may happen in the next five years,” said Payne.

One State Senator suggests charging “plug-in” car owners a road impact fee of $100 a year. 

But that figure is not currently part of Representative Frye’s bill.  His bill has already passed the Roads and Transportation committee. 

The House Ways and Means Committee will take up the vote next week.  If it passes, the bill will head to the House floor.

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