Bill adding excessive fees for electric vehicles headed to governor’s desk

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2021

Bill adding excessive fees for electric vehicles headed to governor’s desk

HB 188 will raise registration fees for electric vehicles in Montana to some of the highest in the nation


Helena, MT — A bill that will create some of the highest fees in the nation for electric vehicle registration was approved by the legislature on April 28 and is headed to the governor to sign into law.

If signed, HB 188 by Rep. Denley Loge (R-Saint Regis) will add additional fees on top of normal vehicle registration fees for electric vehicles. While most states charge a flat fee for electric vehicle registration, Montana would become one of two states to create a special fee for electric SUV and light truck owners.

Owners who register an electric SUV or light truck would have to pay normal registration fees, plus an additional $375 each year. For example, a gas-powered SUV in Montana that is 4 years old or newer would cost $217 to register. Someone who owns an electric SUV up to 4 years old would have to pay $592 each year under this new law.

These would be the highest registration fees for electric SUVs and light trucks in the nation.

“Many manufacturers are bringing to market new trucks and SUVs, offering a clean transportation option in these vehicles that are so popular with Montana drivers. Montana should support EV adoption in this segment, and not discourage it with excessive taxes,” said Joel Levin, Executive Director of Plug In America.

Owners of smaller electric vehicles would have to pay an extra $195 on top of annual registration fees, making these fees the third-highest in the nation.

If signed into law, these registration fees could discourage the growth of the electric vehicle industry in Montana, despite the vehicle manufacturing industry’s 2021 commitment to electric vehicle production.

“While we understand the desire of legislators to establish long-term sources of transportation funding, this bill is not an appropriate path forward,” said Philip B. Jones, Executive Director of the Alliance for Transportation Electrification. “Any rational analysis of state transportation funding needs will demonstrate that future shortfalls are primarily due to the lack of indexing the state motor fuels tax, and the increasing efficiency of conventional internal combustion vehicles. Putting a tax on electric vehicles at this early stage of market development is punitive and misguided. As a businessman, the Governor will likely understand the need of early-stage businesses to receive good policy support from government, rather than excessive measures like this that are meant to punish innovation and American ingenuity in vehicle and battery development.”

In January, General Motors (GM) became the first U.S.-based automaker to pledge a cessation on gasoline-powered cars, vans, and SUVs by 2035. Ford has also made promises to invest in electric and autonomous vehicles, introducing their more affordable Mustang Mach-E to dealerships in March. Similarly, Volkswagen announced recently that it aims for more than 70% of their European sales to be EVs by 2030, with a goal of 50% each in the U.S. and China.

Montana has been slower to adopt electric vehicles compared to some other states, despite the availability of state and federal tax credits for purchasing an electric vehicle and developing infrastructure to support their use.


About Plug In America: Plug In America is the nation’s leading independent consumer voice for accelerating the use of plug-in electric vehicles in the United States. Formed as a non-profit in 2008, Plug In America provides practical, objective information collected from our coalition of plug-in vehicle drivers, through public outreach and education, policy work and a range of technical advisory services.

About the Alliance for Transportation Electrification: The Alliance for Transportation Electrification (ATE), a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation, is led by utilities, electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure firms and service providers, automobile manufacturers, and EV charging industry stakeholders and affiliated trade associations. The organization includes about 50 national dues-paying members and affiliated organizations. They are actively involved in over twenty regulatory and other state and Provincial proceedings in North America today.