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Tax incentives and/or other rebates, credits, incentives or related initiaves for drivers of alternative fuel vehicles or for other uses of alternative fuel in Washington.
Owners of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and propane powered vehicles are required to pay an annual license fee, based on gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), instead of motor fuel excise taxes. The fee is calculated as follows:
|Less than 10,000 pounds (lbs.)||$45|
|10,001 - 18,000 lbs.||$80|
|18,001 - 28,000 lbs.||$110|
|28,001 - 36,000 lbs.||$150|
|More than 36,000 lbs.||$250|
To determine the actual annual license fee imposed per registration year, multiply the appropriate dollar amount given in the above schedule by the motor vehicle fuel tax rate in cents per gallon effective on July 1 of the preceding calendar year, and divide the resulting amount by $0.12. There is an additional $5 handling fee for each license issued.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) convened a work group and submitted recommendations to the legislature on an annual license fee that more closely represents the average fuel consumption of vehicles by weight. The work group also developed a transition plan to move more NGVs from the license fee to the fuel tax under Revised Code of Washington 82.38.030. The transition plan incorporates stakeholder feedback and includes draft legislation and cost and revenue estimates. The work group includes representatives from WSDOT, the trucking industry, NGV manufacturers, and other stakeholders. For more information, see WDOT's Annual License Fee in Lieu of Fuel Tax and Natural Gas Recommendations reports.
(Reference Revised Code of Washington 82.32.900 and 82.38.075)
Dedicated electric, natural gas, and propane vehicles are exempt from state emissions control inspections. HEVs that obtain a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy rating of at least 50 miles per gallon during city driving are also exempt from these inspections. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 46.16A.060)
Every alternative fuel automobile, truck, motorcycle, motor home, or off-road vehicle must bear a reflective placard from the National Fire Protection Association indicating that the vehicle is powered by an alternative fuel. Alternative fuels include propane and natural gas. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 46.37.467)
NEVs and medium-speed electric vehicles are defined as self-propelled, electrically powered four-wheeled motor vehicles. NEVs may reach speeds of at least 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph. Medium-speed electric vehicles may reach speeds of at least 25 mph but not more than 35 mph. NEVs and medium-speed electric vehicles must be in compliance with the national safety standards in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. NEVs are permitted on roads having speed limits of up to 35 mph. Medium-speed electric vehicles are permitted on roads having speed limits of up to 45 mph in counties consisting of islands that are only connected to the mainland by ferry routes. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 46.04.295, 46.04.357, 46.61.723, and 46.61.725)
Publicly and privately owned PEVs may charge at state office locations if the vehicles are used for state business, conducting business with the state, or as commuter vehicles. Additionally, contingent upon funding, the state must install electrical outlets suitable for charging PEVs in each of the state's fleet parking and maintenance facilities as well as every state-operated highway rest stop. The Washington Department of Enterprise Services may report to the governor and the legislature on the amount of electricity consumed and the number of PEVs using state-owned charging equipment if it represents a significant cost to the state. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 43.01.250, 43.19.648, and 47.38.075)
New passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles that are dedicated AFVs are exempt from state motor vehicle sales and use taxes. Qualified vehicles include vehicles capable of operating exclusively on natural gas, propane, hydrogen, or electricity, and plug-in electric vehicles that are capable of being charged by an external power source and can travel at least 30 miles using only electricity. Qualified vehicles must meet the California motor vehicle emissions standards, comply with the rules of the Washington Department of Ecology, and have a base model price of $42,500 or less. The sales tax exemption applies to up to $32,000 of a vehicle's selling price or the total amount of lease payments made. If the original lessee purchased the leased vehicle before the exemptions expire, the exemption applies the total lease payments made plus the selling price of the leased vehicle, up to $32,000. The sales tax exemption expires once 7,500 qualifying vehicles have been sold after June 15, 2015 or July 1, 2019, whichever comes first. A vehicle purchased or leased before July 1, 2019, is exempt from the use tax until it is retired or changes hands. For more information, see the Green Incentives section of Washington Department of Revenue's Incentives Programs website. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 82.08.809 and 82.12.809)
PEV owners must pay an annual vehicle registration renewal fee of $150. This fee expires if the legislature imposes a vehicle miles traveled fee or tax in the state. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with an all-electric range of at least 30 miles are subject to the registration renewal fee. PEV registration fees will contribute to the state's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Bank to deploy charging stations through public-private partnerships. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 46.17.323)
The Washington Transportation Commission (Commission) established a steering committee to determine the feasibility of transitioning from a fuel tax to a road user assessment system in the state. In 2012, the Commission conducted a limited scope pilot project to test the feasibility of this new system as it applies to PEVs. For the results of this evaluation, see the Washington State Department of Transportation Report. In 2016, the Commission was tasked with completing an implementation plan for a road usage charge pilot project, and the Commission will begin a year-long pilot project in fall 2017. For more information, see the Commission's Road Usage Charge Assessment website.
A PEV charging station must be indicated by vertical signage that properly identifies the station and indicates that it is only for PEV charging. The signage must be consistent with the U.S. Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and the station must be indicated by green pavement markings. A PEV charging station is defined as a public or private parking space that is served by charging equipment with the primary purpose of transferring electric energy to a battery or other energy storage device in a PEV. Any person who parks a vehicle in a PEV charging station parking space and does not connect to the equipment is subject to a fine of $124. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 46.08.185)
Natural gas used as a transportation fuel is exempt from the state and local sales, use, and public utility taxes. In addition, natural gas distribution businesses are eligible for an exemption for machinery and equipment used for the production of natural gas for transportation fuel. This exemption is available quarterly as a remittance beginning on July 1, 2017. (Reference Revised Code of Washington 82.08.02565 and 82.38.030)