Audio: Virginia Mocked Nationally Yet Again, This Time on Hybrid Tax

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    Peter Sagal of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! mocks our fine legislature, and our fine governor, for their brilliant (and eminently mockable) $100 hybrid fee:

    The problem with hybrid cars is they don’t buy enough gas, so the owners don’t pay enough gas tax…Being green – fine, if you want to go what way, do that. But it doesn’t mean you can shirk your duty to pay taxes on stuff you don’t need to buy anymore. In an interview with CBS, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said, “we have to be practical; if everybody had a hybrid car, there would be no gas tax revenue.” In fact, many on the Virginia Senate Finance Committee thought the measure should be expanded to include fines on people who don’t own cars, because what kind of lame gas-tax dodge is that? [So do you get a tax break if you power your hybrid with coal or just burn wood, like in the gas tank?] Yeah that would be good, I guess, as long as you pollute…The idea is that because of this they have imposed a $100 hybrid fee on every hybrid car, you have to pay 100 bucks to the state, to make up for the gas tax…to punish people...It’s only fair to go after hybrid owners and get that extra money because not only are they saving money on gas, they’re also saving money on dates that they never have to go on…[you can’t be a bad ass in a hybrid]…

    Well, if nothing else, at least Virginia Republicans have accomplished this much: making our state a national laughingstock. Congratulations…or, actually, not.

    h/t: Pilot on Politics

    • Ingrid
    • kindler

      By the same token, I think people who don’t drink alcohol should be charged a tax since they don’t contribute any revenue to the ABC stores!

    • Quizzical

      I don’t own a hybrid, but I this struck me as being a stupid thing to do from the first moment I heard about it. We are trying to encourage people to buy these cars.

      Has anyone crunched the numbers of purchasing and owning a hybrid to see how it actually plays out?  

      Last time I looked into it, there was a federal tax credit of a certain amount for buying a hybrid, but that phased out once the total units sold of that model passed a certain number.  But hybrid owners still have to pay the sales tax when they buy a hybrid; they still have to pay sales tax on gas, oil, tires, battery and maintenance for their hybrid; they still pay sales tax if they rent a parking spot; they still pay the tolls on toll roads; and they still pay the personal property tax on the hybrid (which is likely to be quite high).  Right?  

      So now the hybrid owners have to pay an additional tax because the State doesn’t feel it is getting enough gas tax dollars out of them.  OK, but what about regular gas or diesel cars that get 40-60 mpg on the highway — do they have to pay the “great mileage” tax too?  

    • TravelingMan

      This is unfair because not all hybrids get high mileage. My 2008 Ford Escape has an EPA rating of 30/34. Many, many newer small cars that run on gas or diesel have a higher mileage rating. Why should I have to pay a fee when the owners of most new subcompact cars do not?