Utah proposal would create nation's highest charge for driving hybrid and electric cars

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 20:15:02-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A national report gives Utah low scores for its efforts to transition to cleaner hybrid and electric vehicles, while at the same time the Utah legislature is considering a bill to more than double the extra annual registration fees charged for such cars.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy said Utah gave Utah a score of 27 out of 100 when it evaluated several categories of electric vehicle friendliness. That put the state 21st out of the 30 states that had enough of a record on the issue to evaluate. The other states — mostly rural western and midwestern states — would have ranked lower, but they also tend to have smaller populations and fewer vehicles.

House Bill 209 would increase the registration surcharge imposed on hybrid, plug-in electric hybrids and exclusively electric vehicles. It has passed out of the House Transportation Committee with a favorable recommendation and awaits a vote in the full House.

The current and proposed charges are:

  1. Hybrid: $20 to $50
  2. Plug-in electric hybrids: $52 to $260
  3. Electric: $120 to $300

The money is meant to replace what the drivers are not paying in gas taxes, which are used to fund roads and other transportation infrastructure.

But opponents of the measure say it discourages adoption of a critical technology while giving Utah a black eye nationally as the state charging clean car drivers more than any other.

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