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Virginia's Hybrid Tax on Path to Repeal

State Sen. Adam Ebbin: "I'm glad my colleagues have voted to repeal this illogical and punitive tax.”

Toyota Prius. (Patch file photo)
Toyota Prius. (Patch file photo)
By Drew Hansen


Virginia’s annual tax on hybrid electric vehicles is on the path to repeal.

On Monday, Virginia’s state Senate voted 35-3 to pass a bill that calls for rolling back the $64 annual tax. Senate Bill 127 also refunds fees paid in advance for the next year.

The bill now moves to the House of Delegates. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has previously said he will sign SB 127 if it reaches his desk.

"I'm glad my colleagues have voted to repeal this illogical and punitive tax,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th), a leading opponent of the tax. “More than 7,300 Virginians have supported our repeal effort and in the Senate we were able to accomplish that. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the House of Delegates will see fit to do the same."

The annual fee was first attached to former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation bill, where it was rejected by the house and senate. It ultimately came out of a conference committee still attached to the transportation bill.

McDonnell (R) reasoned hybrid vehicles use the roadways as much as gasoline-powered vehicles but are paying less of the gas tax because they’re fueling up fewer times.

Ebbin, along with Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th), delivered a petition to McDonnell asking him to throw out the tax.

In July 2013, Ebbin and Surovell promised to present legislation to repeal the tax on the day it went into effect.

“People felt like this was a tax on virtue,” Surovell said at the time. “It was a tax on people for doing the right thing [by lowering emissions]. We had people asking questions, ‘Are we going to start taxing vegetables?’”

A repeal would reduce by roughly $11 million the revenue generated by the transportation funding package, which is projected to raise $1 billion a year for transportation and transit infrastructure, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


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John Smith January 22, 2014 at 08:20 AM
This is excellent news for hybrid vehicle owners, and I extend my thanks to all those legislators who have cooperated in moving this repeal measure forward. That said, however, we still must fund our transportation needs. I'd like to propose a simple, more equitable way to do so, a way which -- as a side benefit -- does not include a special tax on hybrid vehicles. All vehicles should be taxed using a simple formula which would be based on actual annual miles driven (which easily could be reported as part of the annual state safety inspection) and vehicle weight (which is well known for each make and model of vehicle). It is these two factors which influence the amount of wear and tear imposed on our roads by any given vehicle. Those vehicles which cause more wear and tear should pay proportionally more taxes to maintain our roads. The type of fuel used by a vehicle should not be a factor. This would avoid discouraging the use of technologically innovative, environmentally friendly, economical vehicles. The tax rate would, of course, be adjusted as needed to finance our transportation expenditures. If anyone can propose a more logical, equitable funding formula they have my undivided attention.
John Smith January 22, 2014 at 04:28 PM
I left a comment here this morning, but it seems to have vanished. Any particular reason why this happened? I don't think it was inappropriate or abusive. Just curious.
John Smith January 22, 2014 at 05:08 PM
Following is the comment I added earlier today which mysteriously disappeared: This is excellent news for hybrid vehicle owners, and I extend my thanks to all those legislators who have cooperated in moving this repeal measure forward. That said, however, we still must fund our transportation needs. I'd like to propose a simple, more equitable way to do so, a way which -- as a side benefit -- does not include a special tax on hybrid vehicles. All vehicles should be taxed using a simple formula which would be based on actual annual miles driven (which easily could be reported as part of the annual state safety inspection) and vehicle weight (which is well known for each make and model of vehicle). It is these two factors which influence the amount of wear and tear imposed on our roads by any given vehicle. Those vehicles which cause more wear and tear should pay proportionally more taxes to maintain our roads. The type of fuel used by a vehicle should not be a factor. This would avoid discouraging the use of technologically innovative, environmentally friendly, economical vehicles. The tax rate would, of course, be adjusted as needed to finance our transportation expenditures. If anyone can propose a more logical, equitable funding formula they have my undivided attention.
Alex McVeigh (Editor) January 22, 2014 at 06:09 PM
Hi John, Thanks for the great comment. It looks like someone flagged your original comment, but I've restored it. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for reposting.

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