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?