EV / PHEV Owners in Colorado Must Now Pay $50 Annually to Drive Electric


Yesterday, we reported on North Carolina charging EV owners a $100 fee at registration time to make up for the state’s lost gas tax revenue.  The fee gets put towards road maintenance.



Today, the state and amount of the fee changed, but the story is mostly the same.

In Colorado, owners of electric vehicles will have to pay a $50 annual fee, which will go mostly towards road maintenance.  ($20 of which will go to the state’s Electric Vehicle Grant Fund)

Both Colorado and North Carolina join a steadily growing list of states that have opted to charge a nominal fee to EV owners in hopes of offsetting lost gas tax revenue.

The difference in Colorado (as compared to North Carolina) is that the state imposes this $50 fee on electric, alternative fuel and high-efficiency vehicles, so plug-in hybrids are included in Colorado, but are exempt from the $100 fee in North Carolina.

We expect most US states to follow the trend of imposing fees on BEV/PHEV owners.  The states that currently list annual fees for these types of vehicles include:

  • Colorado
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Look for that list of states to lengthen over time.

Source: Daily Caller

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20 Comments on "EV / PHEV Owners in Colorado Must Now Pay $50 Annually to Drive Electric"

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Colorado’s fee is the most sensible among them:

– it applies to all vehicles that use less gas per mile by design, rather than single out BEVs. This is more equitable, and will also bring in more money to the state.
– Unlike most states on the list, Colorado gives a healthy incentive to BEV purchasers.

Hopefully if and when such fees spread, more states follow the Colorado model rather than the NC/Washington one.

What would be the most equitable at this time would be to drop the gas tax altogether and charge all drivers an annual fee based on mileage. Sure you might miss out on some revenue from people travelling from other states, but they may also spend more money in the state and give you more sales tax.

Mileage and weight (equals wear and tear on roads). This is what’s so great about the gas tax. MPG is in large part a function of weight. Given the externalities of fossil energy the gas tax should be kept as the main mechanism of the road use tax until EVs gain substantial market share. These are all clearly being done at the behest of fossil energy lobbyists. None of them still approach the amount you’d pay in gas taxes for a 30MPG gas car over the year, so I guess they are quasi-acceptable.

In Colorado that would be a huge mistake. It has a major east-west and north-south interstates with heavy truck traffic. Having all those trucks beat up the roads without paying a single penny to fix them would be a mess.

Moving the fees to being paid at registration would also have the unintended consequence of pushing interstate transport companies out of the state. They would just register their trucks in other states, and operate them in Colorado, paying nothing for the damage they do to the roads.

Wait everyone, calm down. The $50 fee was something EV advocates pushed for in Colorado!

“WHAT?!?!?” you say. How can that be?

First, this was passed in a package with a law that extended and improved the tax credits for EVs.

Second, this was intended as a preemptive strike against the more draconian laws that are showing up in other states. At $50 it’s low. $20 of that goes to EV charging infrastructure. And once in place it counters the argument made by anti-EV forces that EVs don’t pay for the roads.

See these articles that occurred at the time the law was passed:





These are ridiculous! Not offering EV incentives for fiscal reasons is one thing but increasing fess associate with (B)EVs seems blatantly anti-environmental.

Every one still needs to pay for roads, I personally think that there should be a tire tax or Instead any other taxes, a vehicle property tax like the great state of Missouri does base it on age or mileage either way I don’t care.

Given that fossil energy have externalities, and given it’s much smarter to tax pollution (until it is phased out) than travel and transport (they promote commerce and freedom) generally, leaving the gas tax in place as the main method of funding road infrastructure is more than justifiable. Any way you look at, I agree, EV taxes are inspired by fossil lobbyists.

In general, this seems silly until EV’s at least reach a 1% adoption rate. Until then, they’d make orders of magnitude more in revenue by raising the gas tax by a penny a gallon.

Wait ’till the Feds catch wind of this honeypot…

What I dont understand is if we pay taxes on our electric bill, wouldn’t this be government double dipping??

I usually don’t post comments here but I’m just totally disgusted by all this. most states do have vehicle property taxes that are paid once a year. the registration fee is just part of your tax bill on your vehicle In many states. also agree with the comment above about electric power taxes. this just sounds like a big oil money grab

See my comment above about why Colorado EV advocates pushed for this bill.

If you drive electric or a plug in Virginia or even a regular hybrid you got to pay $68 dollars a year. What is stupid about this law is that they lowered the gas tax a great deal in Virginia when they changed the gas tax over to being collected instead of from gas to a from a general state sales tax raise which made the state’s gas tax somewhat abandoned. And to add to this it sort of makes adding a few targeted at hybrid and electric car owners somewhat of a anti EV cheap shot.

Yeah, $50/year is fine for now.

Since there is no political will to raise the gas tax to a level that would actually maintain our roads well, I propose that we add annual fees to all vehicles based on weight and mileage. Cars that don’t use gas or diesel would just pay the new fees and legacy vehicles would pay both.
I would not complain at all if the telematics system in my car reported my annual mileage to the automaker and they reported the figure to the state. CA has bi-annual smog check anyway, so they will get the real mileage at least every other year. Like the power company, they can just interpolate and reconcile when they get the actual number upon subsequent inspection or sale.

Wow. Stupid.

See my comment above about why Colorado EV advocates pushed for this bill.

I think a $50 yearly fee is fine for all with a plug, unlike North Carolina’s $100 fee for EVs only. That came off as if EVs were a bit targeted for me. Considering Colorado’s $6500 state tax credit (correct me if it’s something else), it seems that EV owners would still be greatly benefitted even while paying that tax. For Colorado, yes, they have implemented a nice, balanced example, but does Colorado need it? I’ve heard that they’ve been racking up quite a decent amount of tax recently from a good decision or two. The tax involved has already accumulated far more than what can be generated from taxing plug-ins.

For states with low EV registrations like North Carolina, as I presume as incredibly conservative, shouldn’t bother with coming up with an excuse for taxing EVs. The revenue would be almost insignificant, thus making the tax nonessential or unnecessary. It’s states like Washington, Oregon, California and Georgia that would actually benefit from this tax.

$50 is no biggie.