Sep 25 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, recently led U.S. Senators Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Stop EV Freeloading Act. The legislation would ensure that electric vehicles (EVs) pay into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to support the construction and maintenance of U.S. roads and bridges.
Unlike gasoline-powered cars, the sale or charging of EVs does not contribute to the HTF. The average EV is significantly heavier than its gas-powered counterpart because of the weight of large EV batteries. This legislation would require additional investment in the HTF from heavy EVs that can damage the road and increase maintenance costs.
“It’s not fair to force the millions of Americans who don’t drive EVs to foot the bill for those who do. Our legislation will stop EVs from freeloading and force them to pay into the Highway Trust Fund like other vehicles. If the Biden administration plans to continue pushing EVs on the American people, the least Congress can do is require EVs to support the upkeep of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Senator Fischer.
“It’s patently unfair that EVs increase the wear and tear on roads and bridges without paying their fair share for maintenance. Citizens fueling up their vehicles should not be forced to subsidize the costs incurred by EV drivers,” said Senator Ricketts.
“Every car that drives on our federal highways is responsible for paying into the Highway Trust Fund, and electric vehicles should be no exception. This legislation would ensure EVs pay their fair share and can’t cheat the system,” said Senator Cornyn.
“The Highway Trust Fund is used to pay for repairs and maintenance on federal highways and right now EVs are contributing to wear and tear on these roads without contributing to this important upkeep. This administration cannot continue to favor the liberal elite and their expensive electric vehicles over the rest of American motorists; EV drivers use highways just as much as gas-powered cars. They should be forced to pay their fair share,” said Senator Lummis.
The bill has been endorsed by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTB), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), National League of Cities (NLC), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Association of County Engineers, and National Association of Counties.
The HTF supports over 90 percent of federal highway aid to states. The HTF was meant to be funded primarily by the federal gas tax. However, since the gas tax was last raised in 1993, the HTF faces insolvency due to more fuel-efficient vehicles leading to reduced fuel use.
EVs are not subject to the gas tax and do not contribute to the HTF. Furthermore, their greater battery-related weight (up to triple) leads to more extensive road wear with more maintenance and greater costs.
Senator Fischer’s legislation would fix this discrepancy by implementing a fee at the manufacturer level on the production of EVs. This ensures that every vehicle on the road is paying into the HTF and supporting critical repairs to America’s infrastructure.
Click here to read the text of the bill.
Click here for a one-pager on the legislation.
“Highway and bridge users supporting the system from which they directly benefit has been the foundation of federal surface transportation investment for nearly 70 years. Senator Fischer’s proposal is a commendable step toward restoring integrity and equity to that time-honored practice,” said David Bauer, President and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.
“While electric vehicles enjoy the benefit of our nation’s transportation system, they do not pay into the highway trust fund, which supports both highway and transit construction projects nationwide. Senator Fischer’s legislation adds much-needed funding to the trust fund, which will help close its chronic funding deficit, and preserves the important user fee-based principles on which our transportation system is based,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors.
“It is critically important to protect the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund as we embrace a sustainable clean energy future that includes a much greater market share of electric vehicles. This bill provides a sensible way to ensure that all of us who use the nation’s transportation network help fund its maintenance and modernization. We look forward to working with Sen. Fischer’s office as this legislation progresses,” said Tom Smith, Executive Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
“The Highway Trust Fund has long been insolvent. This legislation will ensure that all vehicles contribute to the Fund into the future, ensuring safe and viable transportation infrastructure at a time when it is needed most. We applaud Senator Fischer for introducing this measure and look forward to its passage by Congress,” said Kevan P. Stone, Executive Director of the National Association of County Engineers.
“Counties own and operate more roads and bridges than any other level of government. The Highway Trust Fund is intended to function as a consistent source of transportation funding and is vital to maintaining our county infrastructure. While we need a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund, a user-pay approach continues to be the cornerstone of federal transportation policy where all users of the road pay a fair share. We thank Senator Fischer for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with our bipartisan congressional partners to ensure passage of this important legislation,” said Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties.
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