A file photo of a Toyota Prius hybrid. (Toronto Star)
Some things are hard to believe. Like this one: North Carolina wants to tax hybrid and electric car owners.
Lawmakers in the state are considering a tax on drivers of energy-efficient cars: $50 a year for a hybrid and $100 for an electric car. Very simply put, state politicans say it is a way to make up for the revenue lost when drivers buy less gasoline. The gasoline tax funds highways in the state.
This tax could raise to about $1.5 million each year.
(The state's Senate will consider the measure but hasn’t acted yet.)
Here is how The Daily Beast explains it:
"The state relies on gas taxes to fund highway construction. But gas consumption has been falling, in part because the American auto fleet has been getting more efficient. In effect, people who drive cars that get 50 miles per gallon are contributing only half as much to the upkeep of roads as people who drive cars that get 25 miles per gallon."
Of course, online commentators have had a field day and they have raised vital questions: Should drivers of fuel-efficient gasoline vehicles be charged more because they use less gasoline? Or those who use lots of gas be offered a rebate?
Most commentators have angrily called it the “backward thinking attitude” of the N.C. government. Others have said they will “never” pay the tax.
To be fair, N.C. isn’t the only state embroiled in this.
Similar legislation that may tax hybrid cars is pending in Texas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Arizona. Washington state added a $100 registration fee in February for owners of all-electric cars.
The bottomline: That’s the thank you drivers get a) for trying to save money on gasoline, b) for reducing carbon emissions.
Raveena Aulakh is the Star's environment reporter. She is intrigued by climate change and its impact, now and long-term, and wildlife. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh