Oregon Adds Rebate for Electric Vehicles—and Tax on Bicycles ""
Posted on: July 7, 2017

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Oregon committed many years ago to follow California’s direction in mandating sales of plug-in vehicles. Portland especially has become an electric-vehicle hub. But it took until now for the state to put into motion something that will matter a lot: cash on the hood.

The state’s legislature has just passed an up to $2500 rebate on the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle. The program is, for most intents and purposes, a point-of-sale rebate, as it may be given that way at the dealership; however, there may be up to a 60-day wait for the state to process the claim.

That ups the number of states offering either a vehicle incentive or a tax rebate to nine, while at least six states and the District of Columbia offer other incentives such as tax exemptions or carpool-lane access. However, a growing number of states are enacting additional fees—up to $200 annually—to make up for the loss of road tax, which is otherwise collected through the sale of gasoline. Oregon’s bill includes additional new registration and title fees for EVs, expected to be $110, but they’ll be delayed until 2020.

Currently, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, of the 3.6 million passenger vehicles registered in Oregon, electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles together make up just 0.3 percent, although plug-in vehicles comprise 1.9 percent of new-vehicle sales in the state. This could nudge the state closer to the adoption levels of neighboring California, where they make up 0.9 percent of registrations and over 3.5 percent of new-vehicle sales.

Nissan LEAFThe EV rebate was approved as part of a $5.3 billion highway and transit project that includes various highway improvements and will be paid by a four-cent-per-gallon gas tax—with two-cent incremental increases, up to 10 cents in 2024—plus a $16 vehicle registration fee, a 0.1 percent payroll tax and a 0.5 percent new-vehicle sales tax. Purchases of adult bicycles over $200 will also be hit with a new $15 bicycle excise tax. The bill also clears the way for adding roadway tolls in the form of rush-hour congestion pricing.

The bill is only applicable to the purchase or lease of a new all-electric or plug-in-hybrid vehicle (or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, if one should become available) with a base MSRP of $50,000 or less—a number that would exclude the Tesla Model S or Model X, for instance. The full $2500 goes to buyers or lessors of EVs with battery capacities above 10 kWh, such as the 30-kWh Nissan Leaf. It limits the rebate to $1500 for plug-in hybrids with a battery capacity of 10 kWh or less, such as the 8.8-kWh Toyota Prius Prime. The transportation bill that was passed sets aside up to $12 million annually—or 4800 vehicles in the top $2500 tier—for the rebate program; so the number could be exhausted each year before it’s re-upped. Just as with the federal EV tax credit, you’ll need to plan your purchase carefully.

 


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