My Turn: The other side of a possible Hybrid car owner tax - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: The other side of a possible Hybrid car owner tax

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It might come as a surprise for many of you that not everyone agrees with my opinions, and I'm okay with that.  If we all thought the same, it sure would be boring.

A few of you disagreed with me concerning last week's segment where I complained that hybrid and electric car owners should not be punished with higher registration fees.

Most who disagreed with me made the same argument - gas efficient vehicles aren't paying their fair share for the road maintenance fees.  Some even went to great lengths to provide math examples. 

Well, it might surprise that crowd that I understand their argument.  I even understood the math.  But this debate might indicate that we need to look at the bigger picture of how we are paying for building and maintaining our roads and bridges.  Is there really a better method that would make it fair for all the stakeholders?

There are a lot of variables and no easy answers, and one viewer made that point very well:

"If not paying enough 'fuel tax' is an issue, what do we do to the people who live in southern Brunswick County and drive to SC to fill up? These people pay no NC fuel taxes. Do we make them provide gas receipts? How about border crossing guards? Or do we try to figure out why SC can operate with lower taxes?"

That's my turn, and a little of your turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.


 

Emailed comments from viewers:

Your commentary was spot on! I'm retired and drive a Prius to save money on gas so I can spend it on other things that all have taxes levied! So why should I be punished for doing the right thing for the environment, the country, the car manufacturers who are building more hybrids, and myself?

As usual, Bill Rabon is promoting the wrong causes, all in the name of getting revenue. It's the same with the farm bill. Why are our legislators siding with the likes of Monsanto and not with their constituents? Organic farmers and non-GMO farmers pay more to get their products to market while the GMO and heavy pesticide farmers get a free ride. My health matters.....so I buy organic foods and low gas-consuming cars to keep my body and the air/water healthy. I want a choice in what I eat and what I buy. No extra taxes on doing the right things make sense.

Thanks for calling this issue out!

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My husband and I bought a new hybrid just this year and I just found out about this idea of a tax on the hybrid or electric cars. Well, before our hybrid we put bumper stickers on the back of our cars that say "Drive slower save gas". I still have that sticker on our new hybrid. We put our old cars to the test. Instead of driving the interstate we drive the back roads and drive the speed limit, not five miles per hour over. We have drastically increased our gas milage. Even in our hybrid we drive the same way. I don't see how the government can say we're not paying enough in gas taxes. My husband drives 48 miles one way to work every day and he is not driving a hybrid. He puts about $60.00 a week in his car a week. Plus my car..the hybrid I put about $25.00 to $30.00 a week in it. How much more do they want us to spend in gas. Now is not the time to be charging people more money for trying to save money. The hybrid cars are already expensive enough, plus the extra sales tax and title fees, plus property taxes. I mean aren't we taxed enough already. There needs to be some other way to get the money for roads. If we don't try to do more for our enviroment we won't have a place to live in the future. Our governemnt needs to be sensible.

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So instead of a hybrid owners tax... we need to lower the gas tax and add a fee/tax to the registration cost of all NC registered vehicles, that fee or tax would be based on the miles used on that vehicle during the prior year.  When I get my car inspected they check the mileage on my odometer... then calculate a tax based on the miles driven since my last inspection.  Again one of the key components was to lower the gas tax... so we pay lower cost for gas and everybody contributes appropriately based on the level of usage of the highway system.

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I really appreciate your views ! I feel those that that don't are ignorant

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I give you big "thumbs up"  for your original and subsequent editorial on the Hybrid issue.  Sometimes I think that our "lawmakers" in Raleigh sit on their brains. It also seems to me that to single out one element of our population to punish with a higher tax would be.

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Concerning taxes on energy efficient vehicles...

I had sent you an e-mail commenting on the need that owners of energy efficient vehicles shouldn't get a free pass to use roads that I have subsidized with my gas taxes and they don't even though they actually put more wear on the roads because their vehicles are heavier than mine.

I appreciated your presentation of facets I had never considered (such as those who drive to SC for cheaper gas and, truly, how does SC do well without an excessive taxation on gasoline?). Then again, how does Florida do so well without a state income tax?

I would like to encourage you to do a similar point/counterpoint on other issues.

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Where does one draw the line on equalizing the gas taxes in North Carolina? Consider these points:

 

1. How about the truck drivers whose heavy weights are ruining our highways? Should they be taxed even more which would drive up the costs of goods and services?

2. To reiterate what you said last evening: How about the people in lower Brunswick County who buy their gas in South Carolina? How could that ever be controlled?

3. Why are people who try to protect the environment by buying hybrids, electric cars, or even small cars penalized for their actions? 

4. Are those of us who have replaced high energy appliances and heat pumps with energy-efficient ones going to be taxed for using less electricity and for paying less in utility taxes?

5. Don't lawmakers remember that we paid significantly more money and sales taxes for our hybrids?

6. What happens to young people just out of college or high school who purchase small cars in order to save money as they start their careers?

7. What happened to the Republican lawmakers who wanted less government control?  This policy contradicts the platforms some lawmakers ran on. 

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In my opinion, the state of NC should calculate 'Highway Use Tax' by the number of miles a NC resident drives their vehicle - regardless of where the vehicle is driven.  NC law already requires mileage figures when a vehicle is sold or purchased and yearly with vehicle inspections - - these figures could be used to determine how much 'Highway Use Tax' the NC resident should pay.  'Gasoline tax', as such, should be based on the amount of gasoline purchased, but in my opinion, 'Highway Use Tax'

should be based on the amount of miles traveled.  No one should be taxed because they are trying to conserve our limited natural resources by purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle.

It doesn't seem to me that much thought went into this plan to charge people the extra money. 

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