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EV Owners In Mountain West Hit With 'Punitive' Fees, Study Finds

Consumer Reports
A study from Consumer Reports finds that owners of electric vehicles are being hit with "punitive" fees.

More American drivers are turning to electric vehicles. EV owners don't pay a gas tax, but they're increasingly charged an annual fee. According to a new study from Consumer Reports, some of the highest EV fees are levied by states in the Mountain West.

In Wyoming, for example, EV fees are 197% higher than what the annual gas tax would be for the average new car in 2025. The study calls these fees "punitive," placing an additional tax burden on EV owners.

Gas tax revenues have declined thanks to inflation and improved fuel efficiency, and EV fees can be intended to make up for the shortfalls. But Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Consumer Reports' manager of cars and energy policy and a co-author of the study, said EVs hardly make a dent.

"EVs really aren't on the roads in enough numbers to make up for those shortfalls," Baker-Branstetter said. "So roads will continue to not be repaired if EV fees or taxes are seen as the solution."

Take Wyoming. Only about 360 electric vehicles have been sold in the state since 2011, and yet it has some of the highest EV fees in the country.

"Putting some of the highest fees into further context, the existing fees in Arkansas and Wyoming force EV owners to pay the equivalent of the gas tax paid by a vehicle that gets 13 miles per gallon," the report states.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.


Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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