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Electric Vehicle Backers Push For Tax Incentives

Oregon lawmakers are considering a possible hike in the gas tax this session. Supporters say it's needed in order to offset stagnant revenues due to more fuel efficient vehicles.

At the same time, backers of electric cars say more incentives are needed to get more of those vehicles on the road.

"Right now, there's a whole bunch of reasons we want people to be driving electric cars and we want to increase sales of electric cars, ” said Jeff Allen. He’s the executive director of Drive Oregon, an electric vehicle advocacy group.

Allen and the electric vehicle industry brought their case for a $3,000 taxpayer funded rebate to the state capitol.

In Oregon, gas tax money funds highway construction and repair. And drivers of electric vehicles pay no gas taxes. Starting in July, Oregon will collect a voluntary "pay-by-the-mile" vehicle tax meant to capture revenue from drivers who would otherwise pay little to no fuel taxes.

Washington and California already provide tax breaks for buying electric vehicles. The tax break in Washington is offset in part by an annual $100 registration fee for electric vehicles. Idaho lawmakers are considering a $140 fee on such cars.

Alex Keros of General Motors drives a 2015 Chevy Spark EV near the state capitol in Salem.
Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network
Northwest News Network
Alex Keros of General Motors drives a 2015 Chevy Spark EV near the state capitol in Salem.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.