Electric vehicle drivers in Oregon could be subject to an Odometer Tax if House Bill 2328 is passed.
Oregon currently charges a 6% gas tax on all gas purchases in the state. The funds that are generated from this tax goes towards the upkeep of Oregon roads. Right now electric vehicle drivers do not have to pay the gas tax.
“We have to make sure that they are contributing to the cost of the roads that they are driving on,” said state Rep. Terry Beyer, a Springfield Democrat and chairwoman of the state Road User Fee Task Force, which recommended the tax legislation.
Public concerns have surfaced, though. Many have criticized the potential for an expanding bureaucracy. The original Bill proposed that the government will monitor people’s odometers using GPS technology capable of tracking motorists’ movements. This of course brought up many privacy issues.
There are also others who feel that the per-mile fee that is being purposed is too high and exceeded what a similar vehicle would pay in gas taxes.
The State has attempted to tackle some of these concerns by proposing the following:
- An option of tracking and reporting miles driven to protect drivers’ privacy by avoiding the use of “vehicle location technology.” Instead, that option is likely to rely on technology to transmit remotely miles driven as recorded by the vehicle’s odometer.
- Miles travelled out of State will be recorded using an “honor system” log book or other method of documenting miles driven off of Oregon roads so they can seek a refund for the fee paid on that travel.
It is estimated that by 2017, the number of hybrid and electric vehicles in Oregon will reach 26,500.
Marie Dodds, spokeswoman for AAA Oregon/Idaho, said her group supports the concept in HB 2838 as a way to ensure electric car drivers pay for the roads they use. But not all future electric car drivers feel that way.