Legislators wrestling with finding a way to raise money for highways are also confronting a related problem of how to compensate for a shift away from gasoline.
The primary source of road funding is a per-gallon gas tax. But as hybrids, compressed natural gas and other alternative fuels gain in popularity, the gas tax is bringing in less money.
Muncie Republican Senator Doug Eckerty has authored a bill to tax alternative fuels by translating gallons of gas to an equivalent number of BTU‘s.
Eckerty envisions owners of hybrids and electric cars paying a flat fee to the BMV, instead of attempting to calculate how much energy they‘re using to charge their car batteries.
“What we‘ll do is go through the DMV and put a flat-fee mechanism in there annually,” Eckerty says. “It would be like on your license-plate renewal fee every year if you‘re driving a hybrid or an all-electric. It‘d be a $100, maybe $200 fee, depending on what the vehicle is, and it‘d be a road impact fee.”
House and Senate fiscal-policy committees may vote on the bill next week.