Proposed Fee for Electric Cars Could Discourage Use

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

WAYNESBORO, Va. -- Tom Childress, a Free Range Electric employee, drives a fully electric car and is one of 4 million people expected to use electric cars by 2020. A fee proposed by the governor could make it more difficult for other people to drive the same type of car.

“I never go to the gas station. That's a great feeling, just to drive on by the gas station,” said Childress.

Childress and Jim Coate, the Free Range Electric owner, work to get tractors, cars and other appliances fully electric.

Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed a $100 fee for electric car users this legislative session and that fee could help eliminate the gas tax.

“It sounds like the adding the sales tax and adding the $100 surcharge sort of is doubling up, so we're getting hit harder on the alternative vehicles, which is going to discourage people. That's probably the wrong time to discourage people when they should be encouraged,” said Coate.

The federal government subsidized solar panels in 2012, helping people, like Childress, run their cars on solar power, but Childress said the government could do more.

“I really would like to see the state go the other way, giving $100 incentives a year to own an electric car because our air is going to be cleaner if more people own them,” said Childress, “I think people are starting to put it all together and are realizing that we've got to make some changes.”

Coate launched a Facebook group to start a Valley chapter of the Electric Auto Association and organizers need more members to get started. That group would provide more support for electric car drivers. You can become a part of that group here: Shenandoah Valley Electric Auto Association Facebook

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