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Del. Plum to Appeal to Governor on Hybrid Tax

A $100 fee part for hybrid owners is part of Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan, but several legislators would like to see that repealed.

McLean has a large number of hybrid vehicles—and probably a large number of hybrid owners who may not be pleased with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposed $100 hybrid tax,.

Del. Ken Plum, who represents Reston and Herndon, is one of them. Plum, who owns two Priuses, says he is writing to the governor to try and get him to back away from the hybrid tax.

The hybrid tax was part of the large transportation plan that passed in the Virginia General Assembly last week. The reasoning: Since hybrid cars don't pay as much in gas tax, they need to pay up somewhere.

Meanwhile, Alexandria-area delegates Scott Surovell and Sen. Adam Ebbin have launched an online petition urging McDonnell to repeal the hybrid fee.

“The idea that we would tax people for being environmentally friendly is ridiculous. We should be encouraging green behavior like this, not attacking it. We may as well start taxing people for having solar panels and recycling while we’re at it," Surovell said in a statement.

Northern Virginia has the highest hybrid ownership percentages in Virginia and in the entire United States.

 "This leaves Northern Virginians feeling even more singled out,” Surovell said. Surovell and Ebbin both voted against the transportation bill, which diverts money from education and public safety in addition to the fee on hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles currently make up only 1.3 percent of Virginia's vehicle fleet. With Virginia gas taxes being reduced to approximately $0.10-0.12/gallon, the typical hybrid owner will avoid less than $40 per year in gas taxes—much less than the $100 proposed fee. 

"I am writing to the governor to ask him to rethink that whole proposition," Plum said. "The idea was his, but I think it ended up in final bill as kind of a compromise. The transportation plan came came as one package, and we could not vote on the pieces of it."

Plum said it did not make sense to vote the whole package down due to a few specific faults that the governor can later amend.

"The whole [hybrid tax] is a faulty concept," said Plum, a hybrid owner since 2003. "It treats hybrids and electrics exactly alike when electrics don't pay any gas tax at all.  We should be encouraging people to buy hybrids. This is kind of a disincentive." 

Are you a hybrid owner? How do you feel about the proposed hybrid tax?

joe February 27, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Hybrids and electric cars save on gasoline costs. Why should they save on the support of the roads that they are using. A per mile driving fee would be more equitable than gas tax or hybrid tax. In MD, 15000 miles driven at 20 miles to the gallon and 40 miles to the gallon results in a tax payment of $177 to $88.50. Still have same wear and tear on roads! This hurts the poor because they can't afford new hybrids or electrics!

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