In Ohio, owners of electric, hybrid vehicles will pay fee in 2020

Posted at 2:59 PM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 18:19:03-05

Ohio is one of eight states that will charge a fee to owners of electric and hybrid vehicles in 2020, according to Jack Marchbanks, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Owners of electric vehicles will pay $200 in addition to vehicle registration, and people who own hybrid vehicles will pay $100 plus registration, Marchbanks said.

“These dollars will go towards safety projects that we already have lined up to go for 2020 and beyond,” Marchbanks said.

The department’s financial team estimates the fees will generate between $4 million and $6 million per year, according to Marchbanks.

The new year will mark the first time a majority of U.S. states will impose special fees on gas-free cars, SUVs and trucks — a significant milestone as the trend toward green technology intersects with the need to pay for upgrades and repairs to infrastructure, the Associated Press reported.

Bob Driehaus, of Clifton, feels the fee is a step backwards. Driehaus, who has owned a Prius for years, said more people would buy electric and hybrid vehicles if there were incentives to buy them.

“Everybody should pay their fair share to use our roads, but Ohio offers no tax incentives to own a hybrid or an electric ... and now they are adding a fee,” Driehaus said.

Though electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles comprised less than 2% of new vehicle sales in 2018, their market share is projected to rise substantially in the coming decade, according to The Associated Press. State officials hope the new fees will make up for at least part of the lost gas tax revenue that is essential to their road and bridge programs.

Other states with new or higher electric vehicle fees taking effect in 2020 include Alabama, Iowa, Oregon and Utah. California, which accounts for nearly half of all electric vehicle sales in the U.S., is to collect a $100 fee on new “zero-emission” vehicles starting July 1.

Editor's note: Bob Driehaus is a former employee of WCPO.