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New Jersey lawmakers weigh raising gas tax, new $250 registration fee for electric vehicles

New Jersey could add $250 fee to register electric vehicles
New Jersey could add $250 fee to register electric vehicles 02:08

LODI, N.J. -- It could be getting more expensive to drive electric vehicles in New Jersey. State lawmakers are proposing a new fee to register EVs and help fund road and bridge work. 

The Garden State's roads and bridges are maintained primarily by the taxation of gasoline. Since electric vehicles don't need gas, their owners don't contribute.

But AAA says electric vehicles are heavier and cause more wear and tear. 

"You know, we can't keep taxing just one user of a product. We have to spread it across everyone who drives," said New Jersey Assembly Member Clinton Calabrese. 

Calabrese, a Democrat, sponsored a new bill that adds a $250 fee for EV drivers starting this year. It would increase to $290 over the next five years. 

There is Republican support for adding a fee for electric vehicles. 

"Not happy about it, but it is what it is," said Narvise Brown, of Woodland Park. 

Electric vehicle fees are a growing trend in the U.S. At least 32 stated added registration fees for EVs, according to the National Conference for State Legislatures.   

We found EV drivers charging up at a station in Lodi. They were shocked to hear about the new fee. 

"I know the roads need to get fixed. But there has to be another way. $250? Nah," said Christopher Silvera, of Passaic. 

It's not just EV owners who will end up paying more. The same proposal would increase the gas tax by nearly two cents this year, and keep going up gradually for five years. 

Assembly Member Christopher DePhillips, a Republican, pointed out the plan for more gas tax hikes comes just as toll increases kick in, and NJ Transit plans a 15% fare hike

"It's too much for the people of New Jersey. That's why people are leaving the state," said DePhillips. 

Still, Gov. Phil Murphy seems to back the plan. 

"We're the most densely populated state in America. The one thing you got to get right is infrastructure," said Murphy. 

If the increased gas tax and new electric vehicle fee clear the legislature and get Murphy's signature, they could kick in in July. 

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