Senate Bill 140 would create annual flat fees for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the state of Florida. It is paired with Senate Bill 138 which would direct the Florida Department of Transportation to create an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program to distribute grants to various entities that apply, and have matching funds, in order to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the state, and would provide a one-time $5 million appropriation to implement the grant program.
There are approximately 66,700 electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles currently driven in Florida. Using this number, we can estimate that the new fees established by this legislation would equal roughly $9 million or more in revenue per year.
Fees such as that proposed in SB 140 are common across the country—26 states have imposed them already, and the fee levels proposed in SB 140 are about in the middle range compared to other states. States have been motivated to implement such fees mainly due to projections of lost transportation user fee revenue in the form of fuel taxes, which electric and hybrid vehicles do not pay or pay very little of relative to their use of infrastructure.
The Florida Department of Transportation in its EV Infrastructure Master Plan estimates fuel tax revenue losses by 2040 of between 8.4 percent to 30.0 percent, depending on how rapid the growth in adoption of EVs is. Needless to say, there will be no reduction in the need for roads and road maintenance as the mix of vehicles increasingly shifts to electric and the state’s population, economy, and vehicle-miles traveled continue to grow.
It is only fair that owners of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles also pay for the building and maintenance of the roads they use. A new annual fee for these vehicles is an efficient way to do so. And the fee proposed in SB 140 will not discourage the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles as their $1,650 average savings on gasoline per year is far more than the $135 or $150 annual fee.
Finally, the grant program in SB 138 would use the first five years of revenue from these fees to provide charging infrastructure for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, providing these drivers a direct user benefit for their user fee. In subsequent years, the fees would help pay for road maintenance in the state. Moreover, the proposed grant program uses a public-private partnership approach where private parties who need charging infrastructure for their workers or visitors share the costs of installing it with users via the state program.
These policies will help Florida achieve the growth in electric and hybrid electric vehicles that so many want to see for environmental reasons by improving electric charging infrastructure while simultaneously creating a system for those vehicles to pay their fair share for the roads they use in the years to come.