by Todd DeFeo
Legislation pending in the state legislature would change the definitions and reduce fees on hybrid and electric vehicles (EV).
Currently, owners of plug-in EVs pay an annual $200 fee while owners of hybrid vehicles pay a yearly fee of $100. House Bill 546, introduced last month, would cut the fees in half.
“This legislation would not only reduce fees but alter the definitions for hybrid and electric vehicles to more accurately define and identify hybrid vehicles for the gas tax based fee,” state Rep. Joe Miller, D-Amherst, said in a news release.
“Reducing these registration fees would have a minimal impact on revenue for infrastructure, while also improving the air quality in Ohio and incentivizing consumers and automobile manufacturers to embrace the new green technology,” Miller added.
Miller is co-sponsoring the bill with state Rep. Casey Weinstein, D-Hudson.
Currently, passenger cars are subject to state fees totaling $36.50, including a $20 registration fee and a $5 deputy registrar fee. Local governments can levy up to an additional $30 in registration fees.
The topic of electric vehicles has been a hot-button one in the state. According to Clean Fuels Ohio, 1,630 EVs were purchased in the state in 2016, 2,091 were purchased in 2017 and 4,456 were purchased in 2018.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lordstown Motors said it planned to use a $200 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to update the former General Motors plant in Northeast Ohio. Lordstown indicated it planned to hire upwards of 400 workers by the end of this year and begin production of electric-powered pickup trucks.
The company hasn’t laid off any employees, but it has stopped hiring, The Detroit News reported.
Meanwhile, another measure, Senate Bill 257, would create a sales tax credit of up to $500 to purchase an EV for personal use and a sales tax credit of up to $1,000 per vehicle for up to 10 EVs purchased for commercial use.
It remains to be seen how the COVID-19 outbreak will impact EV and hybrid sales.
“We have seen about a 60% decrease in usage of EV charging stations over the past few weeks due to the COVID situation, though this is temporary and we’re fortunate to be resilient to downturns like these as a subsidiary of Shell,” Jeff Tolnar, chief revenue officer of Greenlots, which provides charging and energy management solutions, said in an email.
“Long term, we expect EV charger usage to ramp back up,” Tolnar added. “Also, this situation has highlighted the importance of fleets and delivery vehicles and we are working closely with fleet operators on transitioning to a cleaner solution.”
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Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square.