POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Bill would trim gas tax, create a new tax on out-of-state electric vehicles

Feb 16, 2023, 7:30 PM | Updated: 7:33 pm

Gas prices Utah...

Gas prices at the Hearts, Gas & Food, Phillips 66 station on 335 West 7200 South in Midvale on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. A bill in the 2023 Utah legislature would trim the gas tax by two cents per gallon, while creating a new tax for drivers of out-of-state electric vehicles. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill in the Utah legislature would cut the gas tax by two cents per gallon. The bill would also add a tax for drivers of out-of-state electric vehicles. 

Rep. Mike Schultz (R-Hooper) is the sponsor of H.B. 301.

Utah State Auditor John Dougall joined Dave and Dujanovic with hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic on Thursday to share his perspective on the bill. Dougall is an owner of an electric vehicle.

“What I think is a reality check for electric vehicles,” Noriega said. “EVs have been getting all the love for so long. They get all the tax breaks. They get the free charging stations at work. They’re not paying for the roads they use. Now listen, I love EVs. I want one. But they haven’t been playing by the rules.”

Annual tax on electric vehicles

“Dave, just to correct you just a little bit,” Dougall said. “A couple of years ago the legislature put in place an annual fee for EVs that are registered in Utah.”

Dougall says the annual fee for EVs is $120, which goes toward helping pay roads. Additionally, Dougall says he is part of a different program, and says he pays 1.5 cents per mile to drive his electric vehicle. That money goes towards paying for roads.

“I think where this bill comes from is for the out of state folks that now drive their car to Utah,” he said. “The legislature is saying they should be paying something too.”

Dougall adds that during his time as a state lawmaker in 2003, he noticed the gas tax was dying.

“And the key challenge I posed back then was ‘how are we going to pay for the infrastructure that we want, if the gas tax is dying?'” he said. “And that’s part of the challenge we’re dealing with right now.”

Why an electric vehicle?

Dujanovic asked Dougall to give her his best sales pitch on EVs. 

“I’m starting to feel they’re losing their luster,” she said. 

He says one of the big advantages is it helps cut down on the pollution.

“We can displace the pollution out of the Salt Lake Valley and clean our air,” Dougall said. “…. It’s very low maintenance. I don’t have to deal with oil changes and so forth.”

However, Dougall admits that there are tradeoffs in that batteries are not the cleanest technology.

Dujanovic mentions a plan by President Biden to install 500,000 charging stations across the country by 2030.

She asks if that is a game-changer for people who are worried about getting from station to station.

“You need to know the distance you can get,” Dougall said. “You need to be able to charge. (And) You want to charge quickly, but clearly charging an EV isn’t as quick as filling up your car, which takes five minutes or less.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Bill would trim gas tax, create a new tax on out-of-state electric vehicles