Saturday, December 31, 2016

Part 5 - Actual Impact of Electric Vehicles

This is the fifth in a eight-part series on gas tax, roadbuilding and electric vehicles. You can find links to the other parts at the bottom of this post.

While plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles (EVs) have gained considerable momentum since the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf arrived in 2011, they’re still a minuscule fraction of the nation’s fleet. Through November, 2015, these cars accounted for just 0.6 percent of all U.S. light-duty vehicle sales. Hybrids vehicle sales (those that burn fuel) account for 2.2 percent of overall vehicle sales, and have yet to hit four percent in a given year. This indicates that the problem of gas tax revenue lost through these zero fuel burning or very efficient vehicles is negligible compared to the decrease in tax collection that has resulted from the nation’s drastic drop in overall fuel consumption.

The following table shows overall revenue from gas vs. electric vehicles.

The average U.S. gas tax is about 48.7 cents per gallon; this is an average, state-to-state actual rates vary dramatically. The Wisconsin gas tax is 32.9 cents per gallon, with 2 cents of the tax targeted for cleaning up leaking underground storage tanks. At the average 13,476 miles U.S. citizens drive in a year, assuming 20 miles per gallon, using the U.S. gas tax average, the driver pays $328 annually in gas tax.

If they drive fuel efficient cars, their overall fuel tax paid obviously goes down. For example, at the current theoretical average of 25 miles per gallon, the average person pays about $263. If they drive a car that manages 30 miles per gallon, they are down to $218. According to the logic of electric car detractors, fuel efficient cars are getting an unfair ride, too. This is yet another reason to explore alternate ways of funding the Highway Trust Fund.

Part 6 explores some options being explored at the state level. 

  • Part 1- Introducing the Tricky Question of Electric Vehicles Paying Their Fair Share 
  • Part 2 - Changing Trends Include Far More Than Electric Vehicles 
  • Part 3 - Gas Tax 101  
  • Part 4 - Are Electric Vehicles Making a Dent in Gas Tax revenues NOW?
  • Part 5 - Actual Impact of Electric Vehicles
  • Part 6 - Some States Experiment With New Ways to Fund Roads
  • Part 7 - The Truth is, Gas Taxes Don't Actually Paying for Road Construction and Repairs
  • Part 8 - Conclusion
  • BONUS - The Electric Vehicle Owner’s Talking Points