Milwaukee, WI – As part of Earth Week 2021, State Senator Chris Larson and State Representative Lee Snodgrass (D- Appleton) announced legislation to end Wisconsin’s punitive Hybrid and Electric vehicle surcharges at a virtual press conference this morning. The bill would end the $100 and $75 fees applied to annual vehicle registrations for the roughly 81,000 electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles on Wisconsin roads. To offset the fiscal cost of this change, a nominal fee of $5 per year would be assessed on registrations for vehicles weighing at least 3,000 pounds. Registration fees for the three-fourths of vehicles which fall below this weight would remain unchanged. Joining Sen. Larson and Rep. Snodgrass at this morning’s event was Elizabeth Ward, Director of Sierra Club Wisconsin.
“With the impacts of global climate change we should be doing everything we can to incentivize, not discourage Wisconsinites to make green decisions in their purchasing. By lifting the punitive fee on those who choose to own a hybrid or electric vehicle, we are taking a small step towards encouraging green consumerism regarding vehicle purchases and use in Wisconsin.” – Rep. Lee Snodgrass
“Wisconsin is heavily reliant on the gas tax to fund its transportation infrastructure. Over time, as vehicles become more fuel-efficient, we will need to consider new and innovative ways of funding these critical needs, while doing all we can to protect against climate change and ensure clean air across our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to create more equitable and sustainable transportation funding mechanisms going forward.” – Sen. Chris Larson
“The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and personal cars account for the biggest chunk of transportation emissions. We need to get real about transforming the way we think about our transportation sector, including how we fund it. Wisconsin is lagging behind. While other states are investing in transit and incentivizing electric vehicle purchases, Wisconsin is spending billions of dollars to expand highways and taxing those who are helping be part of the solution by purchasing electric vehicles and hybrids. We’re thankful to Senator Larson and Representative Snodgrass for being leaders in taking the first step to put us on a path towards a more sustainable transportation system.” – Elizabeth Ward – Director, Sierra Club Wisconsin
According to DMV vehicle registration data from calendar year 2019, the hybrid and electric vehicle fees account for $6.21 million in revenue. Using figures from that same year, the proposed $5 vehicle weight surcharge would have generated $7.16 million, more than offsetting the revenue lost. In future years, and as consumer habits change, long-term solutions must be developed to adequately fund Wisconsin’s transportation needs, including a renewed commitment to metropolitan bus systems and passenger rail.