James VanSteel (MPP/MURP '21) co-authors electric vehicle report for The Ecology Center

January 31, 2020

With research conducted during his summer 2019 internship with The Ecology Center, Ford School student James VanSteel (MPP/MURP '21) co-authored “EV Report: Paying Their Fair Share,” published on January 13, 2020. 

In the report, VanSteel and his co-author Charles Griffith analyze the fee structure for electric vehicles (EV) as the state of Michigan seeks to support road infrastructure. In addition to raising fuel taxes, the state introduced annual EV surcharges on registration fees. When all of the fees are combined, plug-in vehicle owners pay between $300 and $390 in up-front fees.

The report finds that “EV owners are being asked to pay twice: once for the higher value of the vehicle compared to gasoline models, and once again for not paying gasoline taxes.” 

VanSteel and Griffith worry these new fees and increased taxes will deter customers from entering the electric vehicle market. The authors argue that “a more equitable approach would be for plug-in vehicle fees to be based on the total road funding fees and taxes that comparable gasoline vehicles pay.”

The Ecology Center is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and seeks “to develop innovative solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet.”

Read the full report here.