Are mileage fees a means of control?

From the Australian state of Victoria comes the news that drivers of electric vehicles are unhappy about having to pay a vehicle-miles-traveled fee (road tax). They are especially angry that VicRoads (the agency charged with calculating and collecting these fees) has threatened to deregister their EVs if they fail to register their current odometer readings.

New South Wales recently enacted a 2.5 cents/km mileage tax, but EV owners will not have to pay the tax until 2027, because the state government does not want to discourage people from switching from reliable, long-haul transportation to the short-haul battery cars.

The new NSW law also waives the stamp duty (title transfer tax) on all EVs and provides a $3,000 rebate. On top of all this, EV buyers can get a $15,000 interest-free loan. They really have to dig deep into the public trough to bribe people to bow to their will.

The Australian planners contend that an all-electric vehicle fleet can be powered by an all wind and solar electric grid (with battery storage as the backup). They are hell-bent on proving themselves right even if it means relying on coal- and oil-fired Chinese heavy equipment to mine the metals that EVs, solar arrays, and wind turbines all require.

Why is Australia giving all of these benefits to its wealthiest people? Is it because an overwhelming percentage of hand-picked economists recommended using whatever bribe is necessary to get people to buy EVs and bury their internal combustion engine (ICE) cars?

So far the bribes have not worked. In fact, 99.3 percent of Australia’s 15 million passenger vehicle owners are still driving on ICE. Maybe Aussies know deep down that EVs are a bad deal. But here’s some evidence.

According to a new report from the United Kingdom, it takes eight to ten years for motorists who buy an electric vehicle to begin saving money. And that’s including the £2,500 paid by government to EV purchasers. Forbes reports that the net cost of the Tesla Model 3 is $26,000 higher than the Mitsubishi Mirage ICE hatchback at five years of ownership.

Electric vehicles are not even “green.” Researchers at MIT found that a Tesla Model S has life-cycle carbon dioxide emissions of 226 g/km, more than the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback (192 g/km). With the bulk of EV batteries made in China using rare-earth metals mined in China (or one of its client states), the emissions created in obtaining battery components are huge.

Moreover, electric vehicle subsidies benefit the wealthy at the expense of taxpayers. found that the average buyer of an electric Ford Focus earns about $122,000 more per year than the average buyer of an ICE Ford Focus. Nearly half of EV owners have a second vehicle that runs on gasoline.

Big money auto manufacturers are just fine with the EV mandate. At $7,500 per vehicle, General Motors and Tesla have each received $1.5 billion in free money from Washington for reaching the 200,000 EV threshold in sales. Would you believe GM is demanding that the Biden Administration reinstate the subsidies and make them permanent?

President Biden is now demanding that half of new vehicle sales be EVs by 2030. If all those vehicles come with a $7,500 subsidy, the first 100 million EVs sold would cost taxpayers a collective $750 billion, all going to enrich automakers. No wonder nearly every automaker other than Honda and Toyota wants to quit making ICE vehicles – regardless of what the public wants.

Taxpayer dollars are also funding the construction of EV charging stations. The U.S. Federal Tax Credit gives businesses 30 percent of the total cost of purchasing and installing a ChargePoint EV charging station up to a maximum $30,000 credit per address. And that’s just the tip of the subsidy iceberg! Biden’s American Jobs Plan includes $15 billion in subsidies for building 500,000 EV charging stations – despite the lack of real consumer demand.

The Biden team is so confident they can force enough Americans to abandon their love affair with real automobiles that they want to replace the federal tax on gasoline with a vehicle-miles-traveled tax that will also enable the government to keep better track of each individual’s travels.

Over half of U.S. states, recognizing that EVs pay no gasoline taxes, have imposed flat fees on plug-in hybrids and EVs in order to recover lost highway maintenance revenues. Two states base fees on vehicle miles traveled.

Utah offers EV drivers the option to pay a flat fee or tracking their driving and paying 1.5 cents per mile. Oregon charges drivers 1.7 cents per mile and relies on an onboard device that transmits mileage data collected after each trip. Washington State is also considering a mileage fee, perhaps as high as 2.4 cents per mile.

President Biden and the Democrat-controlled Congress have inserted a trial-basis national per-mile motor vehicle user fee into the 2,700-word infrastructure bill. It appears that this fee could eventually apply to all motor vehicles – not just EVs and hybrids. It is not clear whether it would replace or augment the existing federal motor fuel tax for affected vehicles.

Why, you may ask, has the entire world been conned into supporting EV mandates, subsidies, and even banning new sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles? How long before finding a gasoline station to refill your ICE vehicle becomes an adventure? And where are the tow trucks equipped with batteries big enough to recharge dead EVs?

Toyota spokesman Robert Wimmer, whose company is on record as stating that the world does not have enough electricity to electrify all vehicles. In a recent interview, Wimmer noted the huge obstacles to electrification, including “refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”

There are many reasons, Wimmer stated, why only 2 percent of the world’s cars are electric today. For price, range, infrastructure, affordability, and other reasons, buyers continue to choose ICE over electric, and that’s even when electric engines are often subsidized with tax breaks to bring price tags down.

One thing is for sure. If EVs were a good deal for consumers, there would be no need for subsidies and mandates. Nobody was forced to switch to smart phones – and believe it or not many people still prefer flip phones. A smaller number still rely on land lines.

Americans today own over 280 million ICE vehicles – yet Biden is demanding that 3 million a year buy EVs to replace them. But Americans know that Biden’s energy plans will ensure rolling, if not longer term, electricity blackouts. And when there is no juice, EVs stay idle.

Higher costs, equal or higher emissions, huge payoffs to multinational corporations, tracking every mile you drive, fire risks, and ensuring gridlock. Lots of reasons for citizens to demand an end to EV subsidies of every kind. EVs surely have their place, but poor and middle-class Americans ought not be forced to subsidize these rich people’s virtue-signaling status symbols.


August 9, 2021