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New law seeks additional fees on electric vehicles. Here’s how many EVs are in Fort Worth and how much it can cost

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Neetish Basnet
Neetish is a writer and digital content producer for Fort Worth Business Press. He has been covering businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. After graduating with a journalism degree from University of Texas-Arlington, Dow Jones News Fund selected him for a digital media fellowship. He still likes the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.

A Texan lawmaker is attempting to levy additional fees on electric vehicles (EV) that could cost North Texas EV drivers collectively more than $2.5 million annually.

Rep. Ken King, R-Hemphill, introduced last week a House bill that seeks to collect $200 for each electric vehicle in the state of Texas. In counties that make up North Texas alone, there are more than 13,500 registered EVs.

Chart of total registered vehicles in North Texas
Data as of November 2020

King, who represents House District 88 in the Panhandle, had introduced a similar bill last session as well. The bill failed to move past the House Transportation Committee then.

But, this time around, King’s proposal could shed more potency as the number of states across the country adopting similar fees have increased. Lawmakers are trying to find solutions to combat the loss of revenues from gasoline tax as more commuters are switching over to EVs and fuel efficiency increases.The majority of the state’s motor fuels tax revenue is used for transportation projects. 

In fiscal year 2018, Texas motor fuels taxes brought in $3.7 billion, according to Texas Comptroller’s office. Texas imposes a 20-cent tax per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.

At least eight states, including Hawaii and Alabama, imposed new registration fees for owners of electric vehicles at the start of 2020, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The fees ranged from $50 to $200.

California, which currently charges $100, plans to increase its annual fee for zero-emission vehicles starting January of 2021.

If approved and passed, Texas’ $200 fee on electric vehicles will one of the highest in the nation. 

“I think states are still trying to determine what is a fair or equitable fee on these electric vehicle owners,” Kristy Hartman, energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures had told AP News.

Texas has 22,600 registered electric vehicles, as of August this year, according to data from National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In comparison, about 256,800 electric vehicles were driving down the roads of California, according to the data.

The number of electric cars in Texas includes 974 registered in Fort Worth, according to data complied by Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition and North Central Texas Council of Governments. 

Here’s a breakdown of the most popular electric vehicle in Fort Worth:

Most popular electric vehicles in Fort Worth
Data as of November 2020

California-based automaker Tesla drives away with the title of “the most popular electric vehicles in Fort Worth” by a large margin. Tesla is also building its new production facility, Gigafactory Texas, in Austin that enables its market dominance assertions in the state.

However, that could soon change as competitors are likely mounting serious challenges.

Research conducted by Bumper, a vehicle history report company, found that Ford F-150 remains the most popular vehicle in Texas. Since the start of the pandemic, there were 614 instances of Ford F-150 VIN searches, an often final check of a used car’s service and ownership before deciding on a purchase, according to Bumper. It was followed by Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with 513 searches.

It remains to be seen how the launch of Ford’s F-150 EV in the next year or so impacts different electric vehicle ownership rates.

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