Bill Description: This bill would provide an exception to the additional registration fee for hybrid vehicles that do not take electric power from the grid.
Analysis: In 2015, the Legislature approved tax and fee increases to pay for Idaho bridge and road repairs. House Bill 312 included, among other things, a new fee for hybrid vehicles. This bill addresses concerns that have been raised about the fairness and applicability of the that fee.
Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?
This bill eliminates the additional registration fee charged for hybrid vehicles that do not take power from sources other than the pump. The distinction is made between the hybrid vehicle that obtains all its energy from the pump and vehicles that also obtain power from the electric grid through a plug-in. This is an important distinction because some vehicles are considered hybrids while using batteries to conserve energy and maximize fuel efficiency. These vehicles still use the same fuels for their energy and therefore pay the same fuel taxes. Many of these hybrids do not get substantially greater miles per gallon of fuel, so they pay nearly equivalent taxes. For this reason, the additional $75 fee should not apply to their use. (+1)
This bill also eliminates the fee for “neighborhood electric vehicles,” which are defined as low speed, emission-free vehicles that are still licensed and permitted on highways. Currently, owners of these vehicles are charged $140 for registration. Even though these vehicles do not generate any tax revenue for fuel at the pump, their design and small size cause minimal wear on the road. Some of these vehicles, such as golf carts, rarely use taxpayer-funded roadways.
These exceptions to the fee are expected to save $1 million for the owners of these types of vehicles. (+1)