Taxes could throw a spanner in the works for the governor of Georgia’s quest to become capital for electric vehicles

When the Georgia Gov. Brian wants to help Kemp achieve his goal of winning the state capital for electric vehicles of the nation, they have a strange way of showing it.

Georgia bills that would drastically change how much electric vehicle owners pay to charge their cars are expected to go through a final vote before the conclusion of this year’s legislative session on Wednesday.

The nationwide Convenience Store Association, environmental nonprofits, and many battery-powered car drivers support charging EV drivers to charge their vehicles in the same way that gasoline and diesel drivers pay for gas at the pump. Legislation in the House and Senate would convert the costs Electric car store to a calculation based on the kilowatt hour instead of the charging time of the battery.

Still, electric car and truck owners worry that a similar fuel levy would be a double tax on the $214 annual registration fee for small battery-powered cars and the $320 paid by commercial electric vehicle owners. Both fees are among the highest electric vehicle levies in the country, approved by state legislatures in recent years to replace lost fuel taxes used to repair roads and bridges.

Both chambers should vote on it House bill 406 And Senate bill 146 this week and culminated in a months-long process by the joint legislative committee on the booming electric transport industry.

In both House and Senate bills, the state Department of Agriculture will oversee charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as fuel pumps in convenience stores.

Georgia now levies a tax of about 30 cents a gallon on gasoline and 35 cents on diesel.

“Let’s say you go to Buc-ee’s or RaceTrac or whatever on your way to Savannah this weekend and you stop at a public charging station and charge there, you would be charged the equivalent of a fuel tax based on the set rate based by the Treasury Department,” Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch said at Wednesday’s House Rules Committee meeting.

However, advocates of a transition to electric vehicles are concerned that the proposals will not eliminate the annual fee paid by electric car owners and truck drivers.

These annual fees will remain in place while Georgia participates in a multi-state pilot testing the feasibility of replacing them with kilometer-based fees.

Georgia Conservation Voters political manager Doug Teper, a former Atlanta lawmaker, said he supports Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s push to make Georgia the electric mobility capital of America.

“I want to make sure we don’t kill the baby in the cradle by taxing too much on fuel in the transition to electricity,” Teper said at a March 20 session before the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and Utilities. “I know that we have to maintain our roads and bridges. I worry that we don’t want to be known as the state that pays the most taxes.”

The Georgian Ministry of Economic Development estimates that 56 million electric cars will be sold worldwide in 2040. Advocacy group Environment Georgia predicts that electric vehicles could grow from 1% to 10% of the Georgian market by 2030.

Across Georgia, the electric mobility industry is estimated to be responsible for 35 projects worth $23 billion in investments and 28,000 new jobs.

If the upcoming legislation becomes law, Georgia will become the fifth state to introduce a kilowatt-hour fee. The proposed tariffs of 3.47 cents per kilowatt-hour would be the highest yet, and electric vehicle owners are already paying the second-highest annual fee.

Sierra Club Georgia conservation chair Mark Woodall said it would be better to wait until the state’s DOT pilot program is complete. He also encouraged state lawmakers to keep tabs on technological advances that the state’s current plans could make emerging charging networks less cost-effective.

The EV legislation provides $135 million in federal funding to the state for electric charging stations at highway exits to reduce “range anxiety” among EV owners who travel long distances between charging stations in rural areas.

The electric vehicle legislation would go into effect on January 1, 2025, giving state departments of agriculture and finance ample time to draft regulations and begin approving them.

EV owners have long been pushing for a change to match the current gas tax, and Gooch says a Georgia Department of Transportation project could recommend a way to replace the annual license plate renewal fee that EV owners now pay.

Anyone using a public road should pay their fair share for road and bridge maintenance, Gooch said.

Since most electric vehicles are used for short distances every day, the legislation does not impose additional taxes when charging cars and trucks at home, which now accounts for the majority of owners.

“The $200 annual fee basically covers use of public roads in the city where you live, to and from work, short commutes and going to the grocery store,” the Dahlonega Republican said. “But let’s say if you leave Dahlonega this afternoon and drive into Savannah, you must stop at least once, if not twice, to recharge your electric battery.

“My position was, if you only use your electric car occasionally to go from home to the bank or to school and back, you’re not going to use that car enough to maybe justify the $200,” Gooch said. “But if you drive your car like I drive my pickup truck 30,000 miles a year, I paid over $1,000 in gas tax last year, and I’d be better off with the $200.”