Owners of hybrid and electric cars spend less on gas and as a result less tax revenue is being collected.  And the numbers of electric and hybrid vehicles on the road continues to grow. 

In 2017 into 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation expects to register 85,000 hybrid or electric vehicles.

By 2019 that number is expected to grow to be nearly 100,000 cars. Many drivers are buying less gas and that means means less money to the Transportation budget.  

Representative Paul Tittl of Manitowoc has a plan to make up the difference, starting with a surcharge for electric cars. Local 5’s Kris Schuller shows us how this registration fee process would work.

When Chris Knight needs to fuel up his car – he just looks for an electric outlet. Knight owns an all-electric Tesla Model S and takes great pleasure in the fact that he no longer has to buy gasoline.

“It’s as easy as plugging in and unplugging the car when I return and I love the fact I never have to actually stop at a gas station,” Knight said.

But Republican Representative Paul Tittl of Manitowoc says that means Knight and all electric  car owners aren’t paying gas tax used to maintain Wisconsin’s roads.  And he’s proposing a bill  to compensate for that fact.

“It’s all about equity,” said Rep. Tittl.

Under Tittl’s bill a $125 surcharge would be added to the current $75 annual vehicle registration fee paid by electric vehicle owners. The DOT estimates  7,000 vehicles will be registered by 2019. The revenue collected over $700,000.

“The people who own all-electric cars don’t buy any gas,” said Tittl. “They are actually contributing nothing, other then their registration fee, toward maintenance of the road and building of roads in Wisconsin.”

Knight says he’s against the bill because there are only 1,000 electric vehicles on the road in the state.

“Will they even collect enough money to off-set the expense of having to collect the money?” Knight asked.

And because the bill discourages ownership of the eco-friendly technology.

“It’s clean, clean energy, there is no smog, produces no smog on the road,” Knight added.

Tittl says owners of a gas powered vehicles pay $175 a year in gas tax. The lawmaker says his provision simply creates fairness in road funding.

Tittl hopes to release another bill in the coming weeks  that would add a $30 to $35 surcharge to registration fees for owners of hybrid vehicles.