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With the government shutdown in full force, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stopped many of its functions that help keep motorists safe.
Electric Vehicles are currently the darling of sectors of the media and also the car companies themselves. Although limited by range in most cases, those that drive them are currently laughing all the way to the bank in many respects.
Not only do they not have to pay fuel costs, currently, in the US, they don’t have to pay any road fees either. Of course, for conventional vehicles, licensing and road fees are designed to be used by the individual states to maintain the infrastructure, i.e. the roads, that we drive on.
Washington state Senator Mary Margaret Haugen thinks EV drivers getting away scott-free is unfair, consequently, a bill is being proposed in the Evergreen State, which would require those that own or lease Electric Vehicles to pay a $100 annual fee.
Considering that Washingtonians currently pay a 37.5 cent gasoline tax, which works out to around $204 per year for most motorists, plus the fact that the number of EVs on the state’s roads is expected to increase, from around 1800 today to almost 9000 five years from now; such a fee would go along way to helping the state budget – possibly contributing as much as $1.9 million by the 2015-2017 budget cycle.
However, state anti-tax activists in Washington, say that Haugen’s proposal is not a fee but a tax and should be subjected to a two thirds vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives before being approved, making it harder for it to to actually become law.
However, given that cash strapped state governments are looking at all kinds of ways to raise revenue, it’s likely that you’ll see similar bills presented for other states in the near future.
As for Haugen’s particular bill? Well it still has plenty of hurdles to clear, but the fact that some members in the House have already voiced their approval for it indicates there’s a good chance it will make it through and become law eventually.
After all, when it comes to driving, the reality is that eventually, all of us have to pay for the privilege of mobility in some way, no matter what kind of car or truck we operate.
[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]
The United States Federal Government’s cynical Keynesian vehicle scrappage program scheme was by all accounts a success (if you believe that blind consumption is a win), but some dealers apparently skirted the rules, and now the government is looking for dealers who may have gamed the system – and may withhold $94 million in rebates because of it.
Dealers have already paid out $71,500 in fines, despite NHTSA calling the shady establishments a minority of participating dealerships. However, some shady claims are still being investigating. Among them,
- The overseas exportation of vehicles claimed to have been destroyed after trade-in
- $878,000 in “improper payments” which were subsequently returned
- Several junkyards maintaining improper paperwork that makes it impossible for government officials to verify vehicle trade-ins
While NHTSA says that most of the dealers are legitimate, but noted that some fines have been as large as $21,000. The government may withhold the $94 million in rebates due to missing paperwork that validates the trade-ins. This figure is expected to make up about 3.3% of all trade-ins.
[Source: USA Today]