How does the i3 fit in?

This is going to be an interesting (non)fight, I think.

As you may have seen, Ohio is raising their gas tax for the first time since, I think 2005? Going up 10.7 cents a gallon over the next three years.

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What hasn’t really been talked about, though, is this little statement here:

Owners of electric vehicles would be charged a $200 annual fee while owners of hybrids would pay $100.

Ok, so maybe that’s fair? Partially fair, at least. However, think about it this way. The new gas tax will charge a driver who gets 25 mpg, and drives 15,000 miles per year (I think that’s on the high side, actually) a grand total of $63 a year. A Starbucks frappalattochino a month.

But they’re going to charge nearly twice that on top of the tax hike for a hybrid? More than three times that for an electric car? On the one hand, I almost agree with the full electric car tax. They use no gas, so they’re not contributing to the current 28 cents a gallon state tax, and 18.5 cents a gallon federal tax at all. So the math checks out a little. The car mentioned above would use 600 gallons of gas a year, which currently equates to ~$170 in state tax revenue, and will rise to about $230 a year, so maybe a $200 annual charge is warranted for road work., a $30 shortfall, if you will.

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But the hybrids?. Take the Prius, the most popular, and it gets about twice the mpg as the example car used, call it 50 mpg. Same conditions, it would use 300 gallons of gas, or $115 in tax revenue, plus $100 in fees for $215 a year, or a $15 shortfall vs a 25 mpg gas car.

But that’s the Prius, the charge is on all hybrids. Take the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, for example. This is a pretty popular hybrid SUV as an alternative to larger SUVs that get less gas mileage, and are worse for the environment. Same conditions, 28 mpg combined, uses 535 gallons of gas. tax revenue is going to be $205, but add the $100 hybrid tax and now it’s $305 a year, or a tax surplus of $75 vs their example vehicle. The Chevy Traverse (tested) gets 27 mpg combined so will be cheaper to run because it’ll get about the same $205 in tax revenue, but won’t provide the same extra $100 per year.

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Yes, the argument can and should be made that hybrids excel more so in city driving than highway, and perhaps the savings will be greater, but not $100 greater. It feels like this move is going to stifle hybrid sales (ok, let’s be honest, people won’t do anything different, so I’m just complaining for the sake of complaining about math)

However, let’s get back to the real world. Most people I know don’t drive 15,000 miles a year. I’m on the extreme end, and I might get 11,000. Those numbers again:

25 mpg car - $170 in tax revenue
28 mpg car - $150 in tax revenue
28 mpg hybrid - $250 in tax revenue
40 mpg hybrid - $205 in tax revenue
50 mpg hybrid - $185 in tax revenue
60 mpg hybrid - $170 in tax revenue
Electric car - $200 in tax revenue

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I know this does not really make an electric car more expensive than an ICE car, because gas prices have been steadily rising,and it still makes sense, but the annual fees aren’t in line with reality, I don’t think. I know that taxes aren’t meant to be fair, but the hybrid fee seems way out of line with reality.  A blanket tax like that doesn’t really jive with reality.  There’s no reason they couldn’t have made it scale with the combined MPG rating, but maybe basic math is too hard.

So the real question is, how are they going to classify the i3? It’s technically a PHEV, because mine has a gas engine in there as a range extender. I’ll be happy to show them the gas cap if that’ll help.

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