Drew Hansen, editor
Virginia’s annual tax on hybrid electric vehicles is on the path to repeal.
On Monday, Virginia’s state Senate voted 35-3 to pass a bill that calls for rolling back the $64 annual tax. Senate Bill 127 also refunds fees paid in advance for the next year.
The bill now moves to the House of Delegates. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has previously said he will sign SB 127 if it reaches his desk.
"I'm glad my colleagues have voted to repeal this illogical and punitive tax,” said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th), a leading opponent of the tax. “More than 7,300 Virginians have supported our repeal effort and in the Senate we were able to accomplish that. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the House of Delegates will see fit to do the same."
The annual fee was first attached to former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation bill, where it was rejected by the house and senate. It ultimately came out of a conference committee still attached to the transportation bill.
McDonnell (R) reasoned hybrid vehicles use the roadways as much as gasoline-powered vehicles but are paying less of the gas tax because they’re fueling up fewer times.
Ebbin, along with Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th), delivered a petition to McDonnell asking him to throw out the tax.
In July 2013, Ebbin and Surovell promised to present legislation to repeal the tax on the day it went into effect.
“People felt like this was a tax on virtue,” Surovell said at the time. “It was a tax on people for doing the right thing [by lowering emissions]. We had people asking questions, ‘Are we going to start taxing vegetables?’”
A repeal would reduce by roughly $11 million the revenue generated by the transportation funding package, which is projected to raise $1 billion a year for transportation and transit infrastructure, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.