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N.C. Could Soon Find a Way to Penalize Hybrid Owners for All That Gas They're Saving

Disincentive?

TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 17: Vice Chairman of Toyota Takeshi Uchiyamada poses with Prius cars after speaking to the media on April 17, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Getty Images)

If you’re a Hybrid or electric car owner living in North Carolina, you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for, according to Charlotte News14.

“One item in the Senate budget calls for drivers to pay an additional fee when they renew their car registration,” the report adds.

The idea is pretty simple: Hybrid and electric cars use little to no gas, meaning the owner pays little to nothing in gas taxes. So state lawmakers are trying to come up with a way to make up for the loss in revenue.

“For hybrid cars the fee would be $50, electric cars the fee would be $100. Since hybrid cars use less gas supporters say the fees would help the state collect that money they lose from the gas tax back in order to fund road projects,” the report notes.

But this may pose a problem to potential Hybrid buyers.

See, one of the benefits to owning a Hybrid or electric vehicle -- aside from the supposed environmental benefit -- is that they usually come with several purchasing incentives.

Drive a Hybrid? Here’s a carpool lane for you. Drive a Hybrid? Here’s a parking space. Drive a Hybrid? Here’s a tax credit.

But all that could change for North Carolina drivers if the state makes owning a “clean” car as expensive in the long run as owning a gas-powered car.

“[W]hat effect, if any, will it have on potential car owners who are interested in buying hybrid or electric cars, but don’t want to pony up the extra cash,” the Consumerist asks. “It seems unlikely that $50-$100 would make a huge difference in decision-making for anyone willing to spend on a new car, but it could still happen.”

"The old system of collecting money for our roads is outdated. If this is the best way that we can do that then we're going to be in some trouble for a very long time," said North Carolina Sierra Club Communications Director Dustin Chicurel-Bayard.

And let’s not forget about the affect it could have on dealerships.

"That would be on the individual buying the car if they felt that that was something they wanted to pay or don't pay. I don't know if that fee would necessarily deter someone from buying," Bobby Murray, Chevrolet General Sales Manager, told Charlotte News14.

Chicurel-Bayard doesn’t like the direction the state legislature is headed.

“We need to look at overall how we raise the money for our infrastructure and find new solutions rather than penalizing people who drive clean cars," he said.

The House is currently working the budget and the “clean” car tax is only in the proposal phase.

--

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image AP photo. This post has been updated.

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