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Illinois will hike fee for Teslas, Bolts and other EVs — but to $248, not $1,000: 'They've cut it back from an outrageous number'

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

It's not quite sticker shock, but Illinois electric vehicle owners will have to pay $248 in annual registration fees next year -- $100 more than what owners of gas-burning cars pay -- as part of the state's sweeping road improvement legislation.

For the growing ranks of EV owners, its a big bump up from the $17.50 per year they currently pay, but a lot lower than the $1,000 fee lawmakers proposed last month in a bid to compensate for the loss of state gas tax revenue.

"They've cut it back from an outrageous number to a more reasonable number," said Tom Coleman, 69, of Naperville, who bought a new Chevy Bolt last year. "Most EV owners are going to feel a lot better than $1,000, but still upset."

The Illinois General Assembly approved Gov. J.B. Pritzker's $45 billion package of transportation infrastructure improvements over the weekend, boosting everything from gas tax to vehicle registration fees to foot the bill.

Beginning in July, the gas tax in Illinois -- already among the highest in the U.S. -- will be doubled to 38 cents per gallon. The annual registration fee will jump up $50 to $148 per year for most gas-burning vehicles.

Because electric vehicles don't use gas, they don't pay any gas tax -- the primary source for funding road improvements -- prompting the state to assess an additional $100 per year to EV owners "in lieu of motor fuel taxes."

 

Hybrids and plug-in electric hybrids, which both use gas to supplement electric power, are not included in the $100 EV registration surcharge.

The legislation introduced last month by Democratic Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago, would have raised the annual EV registration to $1,000. That proposal was met with pushback from EV manufacturers and owners alike, who called it unfair and a disincentive to a more environmentally-friendly technology.

Electric truck startup Rivian, which is slated to begin production at its factory in downstate Normal next year, said the approved $248 annual registration fee was reasonable compared to the $1,000 fee initially proposed.

"We appreciate the stance taken by the Illinois legislature on this issue as we continue our build out and investment in the Normal, IL factory that will help increase the numbers of electric vehicles on the roads of Illinois," Rivian spokesman Michael McHale said in an email Monday.

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