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Local hybrid, electric vehicle owners upset with new Ohio fee

Posted at 10:00 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 23:34:28-05

CANTON, Ohio — Some Northeast Ohio hybrid and electric vehicle drivers are not happy with the new state fee increase for their registration renewal.

The fee hike, which started at the beginning of 2020, is an additional $100 for hybrid drivers and $200 more for electric vehicle owners.

Nina Toffolo, who owns a 2011 Toyota Prius, said the higher fee is unfairly penalizing environmentally conscious drivers when the state should be rewarding them.

“I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it, I thought there was a mistake,” Tuffalo said. “The environment need to be saved and preserved, I’m trying to do my part and I get hit, it just doesn’t seem right. And I asked the Bureau of Motor Vehicles why and she said two words—'gas tax'—and I thought 'Oh my gosh, I’m not buying enough gas, so I’m being penalized for it.'”

Ohio isn't the only state leaning on hybrid and electric vehicle drivers to make up for a shortage in gas tax revenue. Both the Sierra Club and Consumer Reports conducted studies and determined 25 other states have imposed some form of fee increase.

Hieu Le, Sierra Club Program Representative, said the fees are simply unfair and the gas tax shortage should be paid by all drivers on the road equally.

The Sierra Club said the sale of hybrid and electric vehicles have dropped in some states due to the relativity new fees and it's now trying to get states across the country to adopt rewards and not penalties for these drivers.

"It’s definitely very, very unfair, especially when states like Ohio design the electric vehicle fee in a manner where you're asking electric vehicle drivers to be paying more than what a driver of a gas vehicle is paying,” Le said. "We're now pushing states to adopt an electric vehicle tax credit, rebates and other incentives, not just on the purchase of an EV, but also for the installation of an at-home charging station. I think we’re definitely at a stage where we should be incentivizing the electric vehicle market and spring as much adoption as well as we can.”

Meanwhile Toffolo is urging other hybrid and electric drivers to contact state lawmakers and demand the fee be spread equally among all vehicle owners.

She believes Ohio politicians have been hypocritical on this issue, talking up their support for the environment but then hitting the environmentally conscious in the pocketbook.

“I think politicians kind of live by talking out of both sides of their mouth, but I wish where the environment is concerned, I wish they would be more straight with us," Toffolo said.