TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Electric vehicle (EV) drivers would have to pay more to register their cars under a bill filed in the Florida Senate on Tuesday.
SB-28 was filed by Republican Sen. Ed Hooper, whose district covers southwestern Pasco and northern Pinellas counties, and intends to make up for lost gas tax.
Hooper called the matter “a fairness issue” when he introduced a similar bill last year, saying “there are more (EVs) on the road than we ever anticipated.”
If passed, the bill would require EV drivers to pay a $200 fee on top of the registration fees that are already required, while drivers of hybrid vehicles would have to pay $50. 64% of the funds would be deposited into the State Transportation Trust Fund and 36% would be allocated to the county where the vehicle is registered.
“The free ride needs to come to a stop,” Hooper said while addressing the Florida Senate last year.
Bruce Edelston, chair of the policy committee for Drive Electric Florida, told NBC affiliate WESH that the organization is worried the proposed fee is too steep.
“Generally, we agree that electric vehicles need to pay their fair share for use of the Florida interstates and highways,” Edelston told WESH. “We are concerned, however, that the $200 fee in Sen. Hooper’s bill exceeds what comparable drivers pay for gas taxes.”
Edelston pointed to a University of South Florida study that found a $125-$150 fee would be comparable to the amount of taxes drivers with gas-powered cars pay. He said Florida’s fee would be among the steepest in the nation.
“There’s, I think, about 30 states or so that have a registration fee,” Edelston told WESH. “They range from $50, which is the lowest, to $211, which is the highest, which is in Georgia.”
EV drivers want to contribute to state funding for road repairs and other infrastructure improvements, but Edelston said they want it to be fair.
“We would even support a higher fee if part of the fee went to building more chargers in the state, which we believe are desperately needed,” Edelston told WESH.
The 2024 legislative session begins in January. If passed, the bill would go into effect on July 1.