Energy

California’s New Fuel Tax Burdens Gas-Powered Vehicles More Than Tesla Models

Californians with gas-powered vehicles will pay more than double in gas taxes than wealthy Tesla owners, due partly to a recently passed fuel tax increase, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s calculations.

Electric vehicle owners in the Golden State are required to pay $100 a year for upkeep on California’s roads and infrastructure, while people who use fossil fuel-powered cars will pay more than $208 per year.

Californians traveled an average of 8,575 miles in 2013, according to statistics the Department of Transportation’s website published. TheDCNF divided the total number of miles driven by the average fuel efficiency for light duty vehicles in the country — 21.6 miles per gallon (mpg) — and found Californians purchase more than 396 gallons of gasoline each year.

The state’s new proposal, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, increases tax on gas to $0.53 per gallon, meaning those driving traditional vehicles will have to pay $209.88 in gas taxes per year.

Democrats passed the bill, 27-11, April 7 without Republican support. It ratchets up the state’s gas tax by 12 cents per gallon (cpg), and raise the tax on diesel fuel by 20 cpg. It also etches out an additional charge to annual vehicle license fees ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the car’s value.

The sizable increase would make California the state with the highest gas tax, leap-frogging Pennsylvania at 50.4 cpg with New York at 42.64 cpg following closely.

Gas taxes are supposed to provide revenue for road construction, maintenance, repair and improvements, but states typically divert much of the money to other uses. In 2013 gas taxes and motor vehicle license fees paid for 40 percent of state and local road spending.

Californians own about 50 percent of all electric vehicles in the country. Surveys show that affluent millennials make up the bulk of those buying electric cars, particularly the Tesla modes.

“Tesla owners have double the average household income of other EV owners ($293,200). As a result, they are more likely to be adding a Tesla to their household fleet (51%) rather than replacing a vehicle with its purchase,” according to a survey conducted last year by Strategic Vision. (RELATED: New Market Report Calls Tesla A ‘Ponzi Scheme’ Similar To Enron)

Republicans argue the money for road repairs is already there.

Curtis Grima, chief of staff for Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher, said Democrats have not used the already existing vehicle registration fees to fix roads. Instead, he said, the fee is used to support the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Air Resources Board, California’s expensive environmental regulatory agency.

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