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March 19, 2013

If so, you can join a movement to get rid of the ridiculous hybrid car tax. You sign back an online petition, signed by 6,800 already, that state Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) delivered to the office of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Monday.

The alternative-car fee is one of the harder things to understand about the already convoluted transportation plan that McDonnell and the General Assembly put together. Among other things, it dumps the gasoline tax and increases the state sales tax on most goods.

McDonnell has said that the hybrid car tax, which will generate a whopping $10 million to $17 million over five years and would apply to 92,000 out of 7.5 million vehicles in the state, is about fairness because hybrid cars don’t use as much gasoline as traditional vehicles and therefore their drivers do not contribute their fair share to road upkeep.

There’s something inherently bogus with that argument. Led by McDonnell’s fellow Republicans, the General Assembly had refused since 1986 to raise the gasoline tax, even to adjust it for inflation. In other words, no one was paying their fair share for the roads because Virginia hates taxes.

Now we’re being told that hybrid drivers are pikers because they are suddenly not paying their fair share. In more modern states, hybrid cars are encouraged because they are much kinder to the environment in terms of air pollution and don’t rely upon non-renewable fossil fuel.

McDonnell can propose amendments to the transportation plan that will be considered by the General Assembly when it reconvenes briefly on April 3. Let’s hope he rethinks the alternative fuels tax.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon’s Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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