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State of Texas to charge electric vehicle owners with new registration fee starting Sept. 1

A new law will charge owners of electric vehicles $200 per year to make up for lost gas tax income.

TEXAS, USA — Electric vehicle owners have been cruising without having to directly support state highway funding, which is paid for by gasoline and or diesel fuel tax dollars.

Now, Texas lawmakers are slamming the brakes on that with a new law that goes into effect on Friday, Sept. 1.

Senate Bill 505 requires electric vehicle owners to pay a $200 fee when they register a vehicle or renew their registration. It’s being imposed because lawmakers said EV drivers weren’t paying their fair share into a fund that helps cover road construction and repairs across Texas.

Some EV owners don't agree with lawmakers and told 6 News they feel like the state is now "double dipping."

"As an electric vehicle owner, I'm already paying taxes on the electricity that I'm using," said Alania Cater, who has had a Tesla for nearly four years. "When I charge at my home or when I charge out here, they're paying for the electricity. So, that's already going back to the state."

Some EV owners told 6 News they understand why the state is looking to charge them and it somewhat acts as a balance. However, they believe the fee is too high.

"We hit it wrong on both ends like we missed the tax credit and now registration is triple that of normal vehicles," said Cody Johnston, who had an EV for economic purposes.

"Based on the efficiency of the vehicles, $200 is more than double what a similar car would pay in gas tax," said Robi Chapman, who has a Tesla for road trips. "It definitely seems like there's a little oil and gas lobby going on."

Chapman thinks a fairer way to balance the lost gas tax income is to charge electric vehicle owners by how much they drive and what their annual inspection entails.

"It's very easy to see how many miles you've driven and to charge an adequate rate for an appropriate tax, but certainly not a flat $200 for everybody," Chapman said.

The cost will be even higher for those who purchase a new electric vehicle. They'll have to pay two years of registration or $400 upfront.

Texas does have an incentive for electric vehicle owners. It offers rebates of up to $2,500 for up to 2,000 new hydrogen fuel cell, electric or hybrid vehicles every two years.

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