Up until now, governments around the world have been offering motorists significant tax incentives to purchase plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, rewarding their reduced environmental impact.
Not only do hybrid and EV owners get tax benefits at the time of purchase, but they also have a reduced fuel bill, which means the government gets less money from petrol revenue.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Oregon, Washington and Texas will establish a road usage charge based on a ‘Vehicle Miles Travelled’ formula.
The new scheme would remove the fuel tax and charge all motorists – regardless of their vehicle’s propulsion methods – based on the distance they travel.
In the example of Oregon, motorists are taxed 30 cents per gallon of petrol, with the majority of that money going towards road maintenance and infrastructure development.
One potential roadblock is that every vehicle would need to be fitted with a GPS tracking device to allow the government to accurately measure how far you have travelled.
Recent studies in the US have shown that many drivers support the concept of a pay-per-kilometre taxation method but few are keen for their every move to be watched, believing the GPS tracking system is an infringement on privacy.
If passed, the Oregon scheme would not come into effect until 2014, which would give road authorities the opportunity to trial it with plug-in hybrid and EV owners in the meantime.
Do you think a similar Vehicle Kilometres Travelled tax could work in Australia, especially once alternative energy vehicles become more widespread?