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Old 02-26-2013, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,826,108 times
Reputation: 42860

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
Gov. Bubba (thanks Gustavo!) figures that hybrid owners are disproportionately supporters of the "other" party, so he's happy to take their money AND tick them off.
Exactly. Not all that different from the games played in pre-war Germany. Jews have to pay an extra fee to own a radio just because they're Jews, that sort of thing.

Between this and the stance on arming teachers in schools, I'm starting to be a little concerned about our governor. I really liked him at first and voted for him. But this year he seems to be taking these small stances that really have me wondering if he's thinking straight, or if maybe there's a vindictive streak in him that may become worrisome.

Last edited by Caladium; 02-26-2013 at 05:46 AM..
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:53 AM
 
67 posts, read 127,630 times
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This does not make any sense. So you pay more because you are using enerhy efficient vehicle. What next? If we buy eney efficient Appliances or solar panels, we need to pay extra because we are not using that much electricity?
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:08 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,553 posts, read 33,276,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcity View Post
The gas tax is reduced, not gone. The 17 cent gas tax is being replaced with a 3.5% gas tax which translates to somewhere around an 11 cent gas tax for the average gallon of regular unleaded.

Of course, if the price of gas rises enough, the gas tax will actually be greater than it currently is.

The idea of a hybrid tax seems fair to me- they use less gas than a regular vehicle but tear up the roads just as much. I'm not sure that it should be $100, but it should exist.
This is a very good point. A 2006 Honda Accord hybrid probably does as much damage to road surfaces as my 2008 Accord V6.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:20 AM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,199,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
I signed. I think it's idiotic to single out one type of vehicle for a fee. What's next, a fee for people who drive blue cars? Or a fee for driving a Ford but not a Chrysler? It doesn't even raise that much money. All it will do is tick people off.

Since most Virginia Prius owners are in northern VA this seems like a petty swipe at the people in our region.
To play devils advocate here...

1) My understanding (correctly if I'm wrong) is that it is not just Prius owners but any alternative fuel vehicle or hybrid regardless of how efficient or inefficient it actually is.

2) To your argument of fairness... Is it fair to single out one type of vehicle for subsidy either then? Why is the government subsidizing alternative fuel vehicles to make them cost competitive when there are numerous regular fuel vehicles which get 35+mpg and there are many hybrids that get less than 30mpg. Why not just subsidize fuel economy in general if that is the goal?

3) Why has the government been subsidizing large alternative fuel vehicles that don't get particularly good mileage? Someone who purchased a 4500lb 2009 dodge durango hybrid (about 22mpg) got a $2200 federal tax credit when doing so and may have gotten state tax credits as well depending on where they live. So at $100/yr it would take 22 years of increased registration fees to offset the tax credit the owner received at purchase. And it would take more years than that for a Prius which received a higher subsidy.

Federal Tax Credits for Hybrids

4) Why is it, in many parts of the Commonwealth, that same 4500lb dodge durnango hybrid can pay $25/year for an "alternative fuel" license plate and ride in the HOV during peak hours while my 45mpg 1900lb chevy metro is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in the regular lanes. Is that fair? I use less fuel on the highway and damage the roads far less (due to weight) than a prius (2900lbs) or durango hybrid (4500lbs).

Alternative Fuels Data Center: High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Exemption

The idea is to fund the roads with fees that "attempt" to spread the costs out to the users in proportion to how much they benefit from the roads. Relying on the gas tax alone has proven to be fickle because demand changes and is trending downward. The sales tax can be justified because all of the goods you purchase are transported to the retail establishments, grocery stores, restaurants, etc... on roads as well. Alternative fuel vehicles do tend to get better mileage and therefore their users pay less gas tax despite the fact that they drive as many miles as anyone else. It is not 100% fair to put a $100 surcharge but I can see where the politicians are coming from.

The one argument I can definitely see people making is that the extra fee is excessive given what people will actually pay in gas taxes. I don't know the spread between wholesale gas prices and retail so I will assume they are the same for this example. The average person driving 1000 miles a month getting 25 miles per gallon at $3.50 a gallon will spend $1680 a year in gas and $59/yr in gas tax (at 3.5%). That same person driving a vehicle that gets 45mpg (lets assume hybrid for arguments sake) will only spend $933 a year on gas and roughly $33 on the gas tax. So basically, the hybrid driver only paid about $25 less per year in taxes but gets hit with a $100 fee. That seems pretty bogus to me.

Probably the fairest way to do this, carbon emission arguments aside, would be a "mileage tax" with a weight multiplier of some sort that takes into account how many miles you travel and the fact that heavier vehicles tend to damage the roads more. I don't know if that kind of big brother taxation would fly though and would likely lead to a lot of fraud. Honestly, I think the outrage with this fee is more about self-righteous hybrid owners feeling like they should be patted on the back for their morally superior choice of transportation rather than any sense of fairness. They already have received numerous privileges to begin with and they are very likely paying less in gas taxes despite than their peers... it seems like this would really be a case of them coming closer to "just paying their fair share"... but that is just my opinion.

Last edited by UHgrad; 02-26-2013 at 06:35 AM..
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,826,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dissenter View Post
This is a very good point. A 2006 Honda Accord hybrid probably does as much damage to road surfaces as my 2008 Accord V6.
I could (maybe) understand this fee if they could show hybrids use the roads more than other cars. But if they are using them the same amount, then both vehicles should have the fee. Or, if the point is to assign fees based on how much the roads are used they should assigned fees based on how far your commute is and not on what sort of car you drive.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:28 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,826,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UHgrad View Post

2) To your argument of fairness... Is it fair to single out one type of vehicle for subsidy either then? Why is the government subsidizing alternative fuel vehicles to make them cost competitive when there are numerous regular fuel vehicles which get 35+mpg and there are many hybrids that get less than 30mpg. Why not just subsidize fuel economy in general if that is the goal?
I agree. However, I wasn't aware that the state of VA was subsidizing alternative fuel vehicles. I've never been a fan of HOV lanes in general or of allowing certain vehicles in but not others. I thought that had ended?

One other thought.... Virginia is trying very hard to lure corporations from California. IMO, having a governor who talks about things like penalizing hybrid car owners and arming teachers makes our state sound, well, rednecky. Might work against our own interests if we really want to lure those corporations here.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:42 AM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,199,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
I agree. However, I wasn't aware that the state of VA was subsidizing alternative fuel vehicles. I've never been a fan of HOV lanes in general or of allowing certain vehicles in but not others. I thought that had ended?

One other thought.... Virginia is trying very hard to lure corporations from California. IMO, having a governor who talks about things like penalizing hybrid car owners and arming teachers makes our state sound, well, rednecky. Might work against our own interests if we really want to lure those corporations here.
VA is not currently subsidizing them, but they are subsidized none the less from tax dollars at the federal level and given special privileges that other vehicles are not in the Commonwealth. As far as the HOV goes, it depends where you live, the link I provided outlines the specifics.

To your second point, that is an argument of image that is a different argument all together from one of fairness. It is a valid one though. Virginia is a southern state (as much as all the Northeast transplants we are being overrun with hate to admit it) and there are certain cultural differences and stereotypes that may or may not make it attractive to outside businesses relocating here. I agree that these kinds of things probably do make us look great with liberal progressive potential residents.
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:52 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,752,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spleuchan View Post
Just saw this on Washingtonpost.com. Apparently a couple NOVA delegates have created an online petition to try to get Governor McDonnell to use the line item veto to undo the $100 fee for hybrids. I signed it since it doesn't make much sense to charge hybrid owners an extra $100. Many hybrids get worse gas mileage than Ford Focus or Hyundai Elantra for example, yet those vehicles don't have to pay the fee.

The article:
North Va. lawmakers take aim at hybrid-fee increase in transportation bill - The Washington Post

The petition:
https://services.myngp.com/ngponline...C0RDTN%2bv4%3d

Disgusting. McDonnell is an embarrassment. When can we get rid of this clown??
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:52 AM
 
756 posts, read 1,331,898 times
Reputation: 930
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
I could (maybe) understand this fee if they could show hybrids use the roads more than other cars. But if they are using them the same amount, then both vehicles should have the fee. Or, if the point is to assign fees based on how much the roads are used they should assigned fees based on how far your commute is and not on what sort of car you drive.
I think the point is that the hybrid uses less gas, and therefore pays less gas tax, so they need to make it up with a fee. In theory, a regularly fueled vehicle that uses the road an equal amount has already paid its fair share of taxes.

I do agree with UHgrad, that the whole hybrid/non hybrid thing was always somewhat of a farce. Regularly cars that got 35 mpg couldn't use HOV lanes but Hybrids that got 22 could. This fee discriminates the other way, regular cars that get good gas mileage aren't penalized but hybrid's that don't are.

Finally, note that this should not just be about "tearing up the roads". It is also just about taking up space and using roads. A true usage fee would need to take so many things into account, size, weight, miles driven, and the hardest one, where they were driven. For the "where driven" component, consider the cost to build and maintain roads. If it is in the middle of nowhere, you have to pay to build and maintain a road that so few people will use, the people that do use it, have a high cost of road mile driven. On the other hand, in the highly congested areas, they need to continue to build more roads to handle all the traffic, also a high cost of road per mile driven. The cheapest is probably the stable moderately populated areas, where new roads won't need to be built, and there is enough "users" to spread the maintenance across. All this isn't to say that's how we should do it. It's just to show that any usage based fee has way too many variables that things like a registration fee or gas tax won't cover, but they are generally workable simplified solutions.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:07 AM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,752,237 times
Reputation: 3943
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
Gov. Bubba (thanks Gustavo!) figures that hybrid owners are disproportionately supporters of the "other" party, so he's happy to take their money AND tick them off.
I agree with that. It just makes no sense to penalize people for making a choice that is good for all of us. Cleaner air, less reliance on fossil fuels. This kind of partisanship is so bad for our country, and this is a perfect example of it.
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