Legislation Charging Electric Car Owners a Yearly Fee Sparks Controversy

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Legislature adjourned for the final time this 2019 session. Now, a number of measures are just one signature away from becoming law. One of those bills is already sparking controversy with electric car owners in Iowa.

A bill that would tax electric and hybrid car owners an annual fee is headed to the governor’s desk. The money would help pay for roads already covered by the taxes that car owners pay when they fuel their vehicle.

“It`s very frustrating because I think we pay enough as it is. We have taxes on gas and taxes on everything. It`s like I try to do the right thing to get something that is a cleaner vehicle, better gas mileage, and now I feel like I`m being penalized. So that will actually play a part on whether or not I want to keep it now,” said Gayle Rivas.

Rivas purchased a plug-in hybrid vehicle two years ago. The bill would tax her an extra $65 dollars a year by 2022 and fully electric vehicles $130.

Legislators say the state is beginning to miss out on money for road repairs, as more people switch to electric cars and pay for less fuel. Rivas feels it could affect a person's decision to buy a greener vehicle.

“If it keeps like that, it's going to force everybody to go back to these gas guzzling cars. It's going to pollute the air more. So it's very, very disappointing,” said Rivas.

If the governor signs the bill into law, Iowa would join the 20 states that already have special fees for electric vehicles.

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