Rabb, Hanbidge urge measures to better understand impact of electric vehicles in Pa. before enacting legislation to charge fees

HARRISBURG, April 12 — State Reps. Chris Rabb and Liz Hanbidge have reintroduced legislation to study the costs and benefits of electric vehicles to better understand the impact of the vehicles in Pennsylvania. 

“Studies have shown that electric vehicles emit significantly less greenhouse gas than gasoline-powered vehicles,” Rabb, D-Phila., said. “With climate change upon us, we know electric vehicles offer a huge benefit in that they mean cleaner air and less pollution. When it comes to the fees that electric vehicle owners will be charged – specifically regarding the motor vehicle tax – Representative Hanbidge and I believe additional information is needed, and that’s why we’re urging a study.”

“Studying the impact of electric cars on our commonwealth allows us deeper insight into how we can best utilize this exciting technology to create better and cleaner transportation opportunities for our communities." Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, said.

Despite their positive environmental impact, electric vehicles do not pay the state motor vehicle tax, which is attached to gasoline prices. Because the funds from the motor vehicle tax are used to repair and maintain state roads and bridges, the state legislature has considered proposals to create an annual electric vehicle road use fee to alleviate any discrepancy in this funding.

Rabb and Hanbidge have reintroduced a resolution that would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the costs and benefits of electric vehicles on Pennsylvania’s infrastructure, environment, employment, transportation and economy.

They first introduced the legislation last session, which they continued to promote after Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, introduced a bill that sought to eliminate the alternative fuel tax on electricity and replace it with annual electric vehicle fees of $150 for noncommercial electric vehicles, and $250 for commercial electric vehicles.

This session, Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland, has introduced a bill similar to Carroll’s, but his bill would set the fees at $380 per noncommercial electric vehicle and $450 per commercial electric vehicle.

Rabb, himself an electric vehicle driver, called Rothman’s legislation “an awful bill to punish EV drivers.”

“Representative Rothman’s bill is punitive and, if enacted, would thwart our state’s efforts to transition to cleaner transit in response to the climate crisis upon us,” Rabb said. “We need to do more to encourage electric vehicle use in our state, not discourage it, and the least we can do is gather more information about this issue before we try to legislate it.”