The Prius averages 45 MPG, which is almost twice the mileage of the Lexus she used before. However, she was recently informed by the Mississippi Department of Revenue that her fuel efficiency would be subject to an additional charge. will have to pay $75 per year for her hybrid registration due to a new tax that was passed during the special session of the Mississippi Legislature. The price for electric cars is $150 per year. McNease stated that at first, I thought it was a joke and then I became mad about it. “I am trying to reduce fuel consumption, money spent, and emissions. I also want to decrease the use of non-renewable energies. I am doing my part. I found the fee on my car offensive. “I feel that they should be rewarded for such efforts and maybe they should tax big (cars that guzzle more gas) more.” The reasoning behind the tax, which many states across the country have adopted, is simple: drivers who don’t consume as much gas or use less should still be responsible for maintaining the roads. Representative Trey Lamar (Republican from Senatobia) co-authored the Infrastructure Modernization Act. “The roads of Mississippi benefit everyone, and therefore everybody that uses them as best we can, should pay something towards their maintenance.” “Obviously, electric vehicles don’t pay any part of the state gasoline tax which is used for maintaining and building roads in Mississippi,” said Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia). According to Kathy Waterbury, spokesperson for the Department of Revenue, the tax will only impact about 0.5 percent of Mississippi’s drivers. With the state facing an infrastructure crisis, lawmakers sought to capitalize on the fact that more cars are not contributing funds through the gas tax. Heather Brutz, policy analyst at North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center said that it is better to establish electric car and hybrid regulation sooner than later. She estimates that in about ten years electric cars and their hybrid counterparts will be priced competitively with traditional vehicles. Brutz stated, “I believe it’s smarter for states to think ahead before this.” She said that if the tax is raised on relatively few people now, and electric cars and hybrids become 20% of vehicles on the roads when the tax is raised, then you will have a larger budget gap and also more upset people. “So I believe it is wise to deal with it politically now before it becomes an issue.” Louie Miller of Sierra Club Mississippi disagreed. He claimed that the new tax would stifle electric car and hybrid sales. Miller stated that if you want to promote this industry, it is not necessary to penalize it. Miller stated that the fee was designed to do one thing: to “strangle this technology in a cradle and to penalize those who want to purchase electric cars.” Brutz said that Mississippi’s approach to electric car legislation is “more common than any other.” Just this year, similar legislation was considered by 14 other states. Below is a map showing other states that have similar policies to Mississippi’s. A flawed funding system. The question of how to tax electric vehicle drivers to use state roads reveals the flaws in using the gas tax to pay for road repairs. Brutz stated that there is an issue with funding transportation. This is due to vehicles becoming more fuel efficient over the time. Also, the federal gas tax, which in most states (including Mississippi) is not indexed with inflation, also causes problems. The tax loses its spending power as time passes. These two factors mean that gas tax isn’t going as far it used to.” The new fee for electric cars and hybrids, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index from 2021, is intended to increase. It will rise annually. The revenue from the gas tax has increased 8 percent over the past five years. Waterbury of the Department of Revenue described this as a slight, but not significant, increase. Dick Hall, Mississippi Department of Transportation Commissioner, stated in March that the state required $350 million to $400million more annually to maintain its roads and bridges. It would still take many years to complete the backlog of highways that are in dire need of repairs. Brutz said that many roads and highways are older than 50 years or 60 years and are nearing their expiration dates. She said, “There are a lot roads that are nearing the end of their lives.” There is an increase in road repairs because of this. This is not due to poor planning. These things aren’t durable and must be replaced. Transportation funding is not sufficient. This is a problem. It’s a problem that everyone involved in transportation policy is aware of. If you add tons of vehicles to the system that aren’t going to pay into it, you’re only going to make the problem worse.” Miller stated that the negative effects of automobiles on the respiratory system should be enough to convince legislators to allow electric cars to be purchased, and not discourage them. He said, “We can talk all we want about the environment but the bottom line is that it’s the public health being affected by tailpipe pollution.” It’s crucial that people recognize that this is the biggest source of air pollution in the country. This is a real problem and it is important to reduce the impact of air pollution on people’s lungs.” Miller also noted that DeSoto County in Memphis was listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a non-attainment region from 2012 to 2015. It didn’t comply with air quality standards. After learning more about the tax that he had helped pass, one lawmaker, Senator Billy Hudson, R.Hattiesburg regretted voting for the bill. According to the Clarion Ledger, he is now working on a bill that would repeal the tax. Hudson stated, “If you take a look at it we were raising their taxes and didn’t increase everybody’s tax.” “We penalize the people who do what we want them to do, if they’re concerned about our environment and clearer water, and less dependence on foreign oils.” I am not making excuses. I made a mistake. He said that he should have seen it.