Del. Ken Plum to Appeal to Governor on Hybrid Tax

$100 fee part of Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan, but several legislators would like to see that point repealed.

The Reston-Herndon area has a large number of hybrid vehicles — and likely a large number of hybrid owners who are likely not pleased with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's $100 hybrid tax.

Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston) is one of them. Plum, who owns two Priuses, says he is writing to the governor to try and get him to back away from the hybrid tax.

The hybrid tax was part of the large transportation plan that passed in the Virginia General Assembly last week. The reasoning: Since hybrid cars don't pay as much in gas tax, they need to pay up somewhere.

Hybrid vehicles currently make up only 1.3 percent of Virginia's vehicle fleet. With Virginia gas taxes being reduced to approximately $0.10-0.12/gallon, the typical hybrid owner will avoid less than $40 per year in gas taxes yet be required to pay an extra $100 per year to the Commonwealth.

"I am writing to the governor to ask him to rethink that whole proposition," Plum said. "The idea was his, but I think it ended up in final bill as kind of a compromise. The transportation plan came came as one package, and we could not vote on the pieces of it."

Plum said it did not make sense to vote the whole package down due to a few specific faults that the governor can later amend.

"The whole [hybrid tax] is a faulty concept," said Plum, a hybrid owner since 2003. "It treats hybrids and electrics exactly alike when electrics don't pay any gas tax at all.  We should be encouraging people to buy hybrids. This is kind of a disincentive." 

Meanwhile, Alexandria-area delegates Scott Surovell and Sen. Adam Ebbin have launched an online petition urging McDonnell to repeal the hybrid fee.

“The idea that we would tax people for being environmentally friendly is ridiculous. We should be encouraging green behavior like this, not attacking it. We may as well start taxing people for having solar panels and recycling while we’re at it," Surovell said in a statement.

Northern Virginia has the highest hybrid ownership percentages in Virginia and in the entire United States.

 "This leaves Northern Virginians feeling even more singled out,” Surovell said. Surovell and Ebbin both voted against the transportation bill, which diverts money from education and public safety in addition to the fee on hybrid vehicles.

Are you a hybrid owner? How do you feel about the proposed hybrid tax?

bob johnson February 28, 2013 at 11:55 AM
The difference in gas tax paid at the recently passed 3.5% rate, between a conventional Corolla and a Prius hybrid running 12K miles/yr, is about $13. Additionally, this is a disincentive to all the automobile manufactures who have invested heavily in hybrid technology to market more efficient cars. One hundred dollars per year will dissuade many people from buying a hybrid. Gas prices would have to reach about $37/gal before a hybrid hit w/ a $100 fee would pay the same amount of taxes per year as a gas burning Corolla. It's just wrong in every possible way.
James February 28, 2013 at 05:38 PM
We need more Priuses on the road. I need something on the road to try and run into a jersey wall during my commute.
jane m. adriance February 28, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Is this a good idea for Virginia? This random tax doesn’t seem to have been very well thought out. For one thing Virginia’s Republican leaders have promised not to raise taxes. Virginia residents who drive hybrids do so to help Virginia clean its air as well as save money on gasoline. As you must know Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, has not achieved the levels of ozone that the federal government allows in decades. So hybrid drivers are actually helping achieve Virginia’s clean air goals, thus, saving it money. Also if the logic behind the tax on hybrids is so that people who use less fuel should pay more for roads then why not tax people who drive slowly or those who, heaven forbid, drive the posted speed limit? They use less fuel just like hybrid drivers do and they also use the roads. And what about the elderly who both drive slowly and have a hybrid AND don’t use the roads as often as commuters do? Is it fair to them? Please repeal this tax bill and let the people of Virginia work toward better and cleaner air, while saving the state money, by driving hybrids tax free just as other, gas guzzling, cars do. As a state we should be encouraging more people to buy hybrids especially as our air becomes more intolerable to breathe. That is what would be GOOD for Virginia not a new tax!
James February 28, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Shows politicians do not give a rats *** about the environment, only using the cause of environmentalism as an excuse to collect taxes. If it was possible to power a vehicle with flatulence, these politicians would find a way to tax your buttocks.
Ronald Sarson February 28, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Imagine a tax that Plum doesn't like! That's a new first. Mr Tax & spend himself. Guess he must own a Prius. Those things are a menace. Most of their drivers creep long from any stop to try to keep them running on the electric motor, and save a few pennies. They should increase the tax on their electric bills for recharging.
Ronald Sarson February 28, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Too bad. Now you've given Plum a new idea. Watch your a--.
James February 28, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Why I want more Priuses on the road to run into jersey walls... http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s10e02-smug-alert
M McMahan March 01, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Have been out cr shopping, considering buying a hybrid. Ford Fusion Hybrid is high on our list. The $100 tax won't stop us from buying I suppose, but the bottom line is it just is not fair to levy a charge on those who buy less gas. A little like taxing a vegetarian because they don't buy meat.
Rocky simpson March 01, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Folks, I am to support. I have had a hybrid since 2002. I have written my state senator and the governor. This is wrong and needs to be fixed
Frank Galvin March 02, 2013 at 10:17 PM
The lack if intelligence,no the patent stupidity, of the governor of Virginia is a well deserved compliment to the people he serves. Yes, it can only be a state of complete dumb asses.


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