Oklahoma ups fuel tax at wrong time for revenue boost; new model likely needed to fund roads, experts say | Govt-and-politics

“We should look at this as an opportunity to innovate and not just how do we collect road taxes and these vehicles that aren’t paying it,” Jaynes told lawmakers. “There’s a much bigger puzzle we need to pay attention to.”

For the past several years, legislators have considered several methods for taxing EVs, including what would amount to a higher sales tax on them and a flat annual registration fee in addition to the usual motor vehicle taxes.

Jaynes said the sales tax — actually, the targeted elimination of an exemption that applies to all vehicles — would have equaled on average 12 years of fuel taxes for comparable vehicles.

A flat tax on EVs and hybrids was actually enacted in 2017, but the state Supreme Court disallowed it. There remains interest in such a levy, but Jaynes said it would not raise enough money.

Both proposals, she said, disconnect actual road use from the amount paid.

That makes a mileage tax attractive to policy wonks. The technology required to assess the tax, though, raises the suspicions of a lot of drivers and civil libertarians.

“Privacy was a huge concern, as you might imagine,” said Jaynes, referring to several states with experimental programs. “As people have experience with the program, though, their concerns are reduced.”

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