Here’s Why Illinois Residents Have to Pay $1000 A Year To Own an EV

Tesla Superchargers are shown in Mojave, California
Tesla Superchargers are shown in Mojave, California, U.S., March 11, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Illinois electric vehicle owners could take a huge hit to their bank accounts following a massive hike in registration fees for EV was announced. The proposed law would raise the registration fee of $17.50 to $1,000, 57 times more than the current amount.

Lawmakers in Illinois have justified the proposal, saying that the funds raked from the annual fee would be used for road improvements across the state. Since electric vehicles have no contribution to the state's gas tax revenue, Illinois lawmakers engineered a law in which lost taxes can be collected from EV owners. Apart from the EV registration fee increase, the entire state could also face a gas tax hike to $0.44 per gallon. Registration fees for internal combustion cars are also expected to cap at $134 from the current $98.

As expected, EV manufacturers and automakers already have unpleasant remarks regarding the proposed legislation, which could negatively impact sales on electric vehicles. Rivian spokesman Michael McHale calls the legislation "unfair" and that it "discourages promising new technology."

The bill is said to play an important role when it comes to collecting funds for infrastructure improvements. It was introduced last week by Chicago state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who says that people with hybrids and plug-in electric hybrids are exempted from the registration fee hike.

This isn't the first program launched by the state of Illinois which called for their residents to raise additional funds. To recall, more than 1 million Chicago motorists received 1.5 million tickets in line with the city's speed camera and red-light programs. Affected residents filed a class action lawsuit, indicating that the program was a clear violation of rights, which collected more than $250 million all in all.

The case was eventually settled, with the average resident receiving about $37, but those who have already paid their dues before the lawsuit unfortunately did not receive any. And yet, the new electric and gas hikes are expected to raise eight times the amount of the speed camera and red-light programs, officials are hoping.

Last year, Illinois placed seventh in EV sales, with approximately 15,000 registered in the state. More than 200,000 EVs were sold in 2018, according to Edmund analyst Jenny Acevedo.

In 2016, the state of Ohio proposed a program in which EV owners would have to pay $250 per month. Automakers, car enthusiasts, and residents of Illinois are hoping things take a different turn in the state to encourage more people to invest in electronic vehicles. 

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