Iowa DOT wants to raise registration fee for all-electric cars

2013-01-08T13:48:00Z 2013-10-04T15:55:01Z Iowa DOT wants to raise registration fee for all-electric carsJAMES Q. LYNCH Journal Des Moines Bureau Sioux City Journal
January 08, 2013 1:48 pm  • 

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa | The cost of owning an all-electric car may go up, but it won't have anything to do with the cost of electricity to charge the battery.

The Iowa Department of Transportation will ask state lawmakers to change the registration for all-electric vehicles from a flat fee to the same formula for registering other vehicles, said Elizabeth Baird, the DOT’s legislative lobbyist.

Since 1927, owners of all-electric vehicles have paid an annual registration fee of $25.

“It’s amazing that it’s been there that long,” Baird said. “I think back then there might have been some people who were creating home-designed and manufactured electric vehicles.”

The issue hasn’t received much attention “because there were not very many of these vehicles out there,” she said.

According to the DOT, there are 41 all-electric vehicles registered in Iowa.

The DOT is proposing to base the registration fee on weight and value – the same formula used for other passenger vehicles.

In the case of a $36,000 Nissan Leaf, the registration would go to about $366, according to the DOT.

The increase would equal about what a Leaf driver saves on gasoline over three months, according to J.D. Powers, or about $129 a month.

The change was approved by the Legislature in 2012, but the bill was vetoed by Gov. Terry Branstad for unrelated reasons, Baird said.

There was some opposition to the registration fee increase from auto dealers.

However, Baird said it makes sense to treat the all-electric vehicles like other passenger vehicles.

“It’s small, but growing number, so it makes sense to make that change before it becomes a big impact,” she said.

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