Make electric vehicle drivers pay their fair share


My father called our governor’s office the other day and presented this scenario to the young idealist gentlemen who answered the phone: I am a retiree driving to Grand Rapids tomorrow from South Haven in a gasoline-powered sedan, and my young working neighbor will be following me in his electric-powered sedan, right behind me on the same roads at the same speed at the same time to the same destination. Being gasoline-powered I will pay 38.4 cents per gallon of fuel used as a tax, which will be about $1.15. The electric vehicle will pay nothing in gas tax because it didn’t use any gasoline. Then he asked a simple question: Is that fair?

The response from the liberal Democratic governor’s representative was as expected: Yes, it was fair. My father’s response was an understandable “Are you kidding me?” and then he asked for further explanation and was told they are encouraging people to purchase electric vehicles. He then asked the gentlemen for his name because he wanted to quote him and was told he can’t quote him, and he would not give my father his name.

I have several problems with this:

(1) 38.4 cents per gallon will rise to 83.4 cents-per-gallon tax under the governor’s plan, which she called “ridiculous and nonsense” during her campaign when confronted by Bill Schuette. So the cost difference will become $2.50 for the retiree.

(2) I don’t think the government should be encouraging behavior through the tax system; people should be responsible for their own financial decisions, good or bad.

(3) Gov. Whitmer’s current plan will have a mysterious entity deciding what roads need repair the most and will get the new 45-cents-per-gallon tax, which means the taxes paid in Van Buren county will never come back to Van Buren county to fix our roads, the money will go to Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

(4) The Government does nothing well or efficiently and I have little faith they will repair the roads to the condition of lasting more than a year, especially with the truck weight limits that are allowed in this state.

(5) Not all of the 45-cents-per-gallon tax will even go to the roads.

And last but not least, does the governor’s spokesperson realize if we all switch to electric vehicles there will be no taxes paid to “fix the damn roads”?

Electric and hybrid vehicles should pay the difference in taxes along with their vehicle registration, and I don’t care what that additional cost is. If they don’t like the additional cost in their registration, they can buy a gasoline-powered vehicle. Better the person using the roads pays it instead of taking it out of my pocket. Now that sounds fair to me.

Mark Sheehy

South Haven