State measures aimed at charging hybrid and EV owners fees for road repairs gain momentum

Toyota PriusIt sounds like the rumbling that hybrid and electric vehicles owners need to pay gas taxes to help pay for state road maintenance is spreading.   

Following a Digital Trends report last week that lawmakers in North Carolina are reviewing measures that would require alternative vehicle owners to pay an annual fee for road repair, we’ve learned that Arizona is considering similar legislation.

According to an Automotive News report, Arizona Senator Steve Farley, a Democrat from Tucson, has also written a bill to tax EVs to help pay for the state’s road repair and maintenance.

FarleyShow1“The intent is that people who use the roads pay for them,” said Farley, as quoted by the industry news source. “Just because we have somebody who is getting out of doing it because they have an alternative form of fuel, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay for the roads.”

According to Automotive News, state and local gas-tax revenue has declined every year since 2004, falling 7 percent to $37.9 billion in 2010, based on inflation-adjusted data pulled from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan Washington-based research group.

Fueling the national debate over taxing alternative powertrain vehicles for road repair, is an increase in U.S. sales of electric and hybrid cars over the last ten years, as indicated by Automotive News.

Last year, Toyota reportedly sold 236,659 Prius hybrids — a 73 percent gain over 2011 sales, according to the Automotive News Data Center. General Motors sold 23,461 Chevy Volt hybrids, more than double the number sold in 2011. Nissan sold 9,819 all-electric Leafs in 2012, about the same as the year before.

The data also showed that electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid auto sales jumped almost 60 percent in 2012 from the preceding year, representing 3.3 percent of the 14.4 million cars sold.

Senator Farley’s measure in Arizona would include taxing electric cars 1 cent per mile driven on the state’s highways, amounting to about $120 annually per car, according to the AN report.

States considering similar measures include New Jersey and Indiana.

Washington state and Virginia implemented measures earlier this year to charge hybrid and electric vehicle owners an annual fee, at a cost of $100 and $64 respectively.

Already approved by the state, North Carolina’s plan to tack on an annual fee that electric vehicles owners pay $100 a year and hybrid drivers $50 a year is currently before the state House.

Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is the pinnacle of luxury SUVs, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Waymo becomes the first company to charge for rides in self-driving cars

Waymo has launched a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in the Phoenix area. It's the first U.S. company to generate revenue by putting passengers in autonomous cars. Waymo One is only available to a select group of…

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.