To Pay For Roads, Tennessee Lawmaker Suggests Higher Fees For Hybrids, Electric Vehicles | Nashville Public Radio

To Pay For Roads, Tennessee Lawmaker Suggests Higher Fees For Hybrids, Electric Vehicles

Dec 28, 2015

A Tennessee lawmaker says owners of hybrid and electric cars should be paying more toward the maintenance of roads.

State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, proposes raising the registration fees for those alternative vehicles beyond the state of Tennessee's current charge of $18.75.

The measure, Senate Bill 1451, would raise that state registration fee by $75 for hybrids and $150 for electric vehicles. Green says drivers of all-electric vehicles should pay more because they don't use gasoline.

"The purely electric car is purchasing no fuel and the hybrid is purchasing some amount of fuel. So, if they're purchasing some amount of fuel, it's unfair to treat them the same as those vehicles that are purchasing zero fuel."

Fairness, says Green, is why he's filed the proposal. Roads in Tennessee are mainly funded through state and federal gas taxes. That means drivers of conventional vehicles subsidize people who drive hybrids and electrics, even though they wear down the roads equally.

But, Green concedes, not everyone is likely to see it the same way. He hopes the bill will spark a debate over how to share the road-funding load between gas-powered vehicles and their alternatives.