Electric car owners in Minnesota to face $75 annual fee

Published 1:12 pm Sunday, June 11, 2017

ST. PAUL — Minnesota owners of vehicles powered exclusively by electricity will face a new fee next year.

The annual $75 surcharge approved by state lawmakers takes effect in January. Minnesota joins a growing number of states tacking on an extra registration charge on electric vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenues.

The fee is expected to generate about $40,000 the first two years, but revenue estimates more than double in the two years after that.

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The surcharge applies to what are called “all-electric vehicles,” which are able to draw power solely from rechargeable batteries, fuel cells or other electrical currents. Plug-in hybrids that require some gasoline to run wouldn’t be subject to the fee.

Republican state Rep. Paul Torkelson, house transportation finance chairman, said the fee is about fairness in who contributes to road maintenance.

“The impact on the budget of those surcharges on electric vehicles is very small at this point,” Torkelson said. “There just aren’t that many on the road. But we felt it was appropriate to kind of establish a baseline that we expect them to do their share, to pay their share for maintaining our system.”

Owners of electric vehicles don’t pay the gas tax, which supplies the state’s highway construction fund.

Torkelson said the cost was chosen based on what other states charged. Some assess up to $150 annually.

“We still felt we were being very reasonable about the amount we set,” he said. “We’re not trying to eliminate electric vehicles or the advantages of having one.”

The new surcharge will be directed into the road-maintenance fund.