February 3, 2023

Legislature considers $80 registration fees for electric vehicles

As more people adopt electric vehicles, the state Department of Transportation has voiced concerns that less money will be available to spend on road repairs. This is because the state’s tax on gasoline funds these repairs.

SB 22, which is focused on tax credits for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, includes a registration fee for electric vehicles and for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. 

The bill proposes an $80 registration fee for electric vehicles and a $40 registration fee for plug-in hybrids. Seventy-seven percent of the proceeds from the fees would go to the state road fund and the remainder would go to the transportation project fund.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Bill Tallman, D-Albuquerque, who said that these rates are based on the amount that an average person drives in a year.

Because plug-in hybrid vehicles do use some gasoline, the registration rates proposed are lower for them than for electric vehicles.

Jerry Valdez, the executive director of special projects for the Department of Transportation, said that one of the biggest concerns the department has when it comes to the adoption of electric vehicles is the impacts on the state’s road fund and highway maintenance. The registration fees will help keep money in those funds.

Tallman said that the $80 was a compromise and that some in the environmental community wanted to see even lower registration fees.

Taos resident Daniel Pritchard who is a member of the Renewable Taos and Tesla Owners Club of New Mexico said he supports the bill but argued that the registration fees are too high, especially when talking about low-income households and the attempts to find solutions to address climate change. Prichard argued that there are still low adoption rates of electric vehicles, which he said make up less than one percent of the vehicles on the road today.

In addition to the registration fees, the bill includes a $2,500 refundable tax credit for people who purchase electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles that have a total price tag of less than $55,000. Additionally, it includes tax credits to help offset the cost of upgrading homes to be able to charge electric vehicles.

Because it is a tax credit bill, the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee did not take any action on the bill. Instead, it will be considered for inclusion in a larger tax package later in the legislative session.