The Ohio transportation budget passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor DeWine on April 3 will include a new $200 annual up-front registration tax for both electric vehicles (EV) and plug in hybrids (PHEV), plus a $100 annual up-front tax for non-plug in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Also included in the $8.5 billion budget was funding for maintenance of Ohio’s roads and bridges as well as other policy issues that pertain to transportation.
Twenty-one states across the country require an annual registration sticker for EVs and PHEV. Most range between $50 and $150 per year. Only West Virginia and Georgia charge $200 and both have seen a significant decline in adoption rates. Ohio would be the third state to require a fee at that level. Only five other states impose any extra up-front taxes on hybrid vehicles, since these vehicles already pay gas taxes and don’t have a plug. Ohio’s tax on hybrids will be the highest in the nation.
“This is a terrible bill for EV and hybrid owners,” said Jason Phillips, Policy Director for Clean Fuels Ohio. “From what we have seen in other states, anything over $100 per year will slow the market. The $200 level is absurdly high and out of line with the national norm. There is no doubt in my mind that charging EV and hybrid owners what is essentially an efficiency tax will have terrible consequences for a new market trying to gain a foothold in Ohio.”
The Governor’s initial proposal did not include a registration fee for EVs or hybrids. The House initially started at $300 but came down to $200 for dedicated EVs and $100 for PHEV during transportation committee hearings. In the Senate Transportation Committee, those numbers went down to $175 and $100 respectively. In Conference Committee, the number went back up to $200 and $100. However, in the final hours of deliberation, the Conference Committee changed vehicle definitions, raising the PHEV tax up to $200 and adding a surprise $100 extra tax on conventional hybrid passenger cars.
“The numbers that were handed down by the conference committee didn’t make any sense,” Phillips stated. “Non-plug in hybrids are already paying into the road tax when they buy gasoline and PHEVs are also paying into the road tax as well. My understanding is the formula they used to get to these numbers dramatically overestimated how many miles an EV drives annually and underestimated how efficient EVs are.”
The new fees on electric vehicles and hybrids will go into effect in January 2020.