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Should Virginia's Tax On Hybrid Vehicles Be Repealed?

Annual $64 fee kicks in this week

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Del. Scott Surovell spoke at the Alexandria DMV about his intentations to introduce legislation repealing the tax on hybrid vehicles.
Armando Trull
Del. Scott Surovell spoke at the Alexandria DMV about his intentations to introduce legislation repealing the tax on hybrid vehicles.

Beginning this week, Virginia's hybrid vehicle owners will pay a new tax to help fund transportation improvements.

Virginia drivers of hybrid vehicles face a new $64 tax — part of the landmark transportation package passed to help finance new roads throughout the commonwealth.

"It's like taxing people for eating vegetables," says Del. Scott Surovell, who represents Fairfax County in the House of Delegates. "It's not good public policy. It needs to be repealed."

Surovell says he will introduce legislation in the next General Assembly session to repeal the tax. He's joined in the effort by state Sen. Adam Ebbin.

"We're taxing people for doing the right thing. It doesn't make sense," Ebbin says. "It was ill thought out and it was an idea that wasn't ready for prime time."

But supporters of the new tax say because hybrid drivers don't buy as much gas, they don't pay as much gas tax. And the new law is simply an effort to capture hybrid owners' share of Virginia's road and transportation costs. 

"The argument is flawed," says hybrid driver Suzanne Cleary. "I have paid substantially more for my car, and I do every year, to have license plates to identify it as a hybrid so I am paying a good deal more as I did to buy the car."

The transportation funding plan of which the hybrid tax was a part eliminated the 17.5 cent gas tax paid by consumers at the pump in favor of a 3.5 percent tax on the wholesale price of gas and an increase in the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent.

The tax on hybrid vehicles is expected to raise about $5 million a year. There are fewer than 92,000 hybrids owned in Virginia.

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