Pennsylvania bill would add gas tax holiday; electric vehicles would cover revenue loss

July 29, 2021

Keith Goble


One Pennsylvania state lawmaker says it is time to give motorists a break on fuel costs.

Citing concern about nationwide inflation that shows the U.S. Consumer Price Index is up 5.4% over the past year, Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, is calling for a gas tax holiday. The state’s diesel tax would not be affected.

“Nowhere is the price jump more pronounced than the price of gas,” Mastriano said in prepared remarks. “The gasoline price index has risen 45.1% since last year.”

He added that the price is compounded by Pennsylvania’s “sky-high” state tax.

Pennsylvania collects a 57.6-cent tax on gas purchases. Diesel purchases include a 74.1-cent tax rate.

A bill introduced by Mastriano would create a gas tax holiday to temporarily lower the gas tax by 26%. Specifically, the tax rate would be reduced by 15 cents to 42.6 cents for six months.

Tapping alternative-fuel vehicles

SB813 also would provide a money source to replace some fuel tax revenue for the state’s motor license fund.

A one-time fee on alternative-fuel vehicles would be implemented. Owners of electric and hybrid vehicles registered in the state would be tapped.

Registration fees for electric vehicle owners would be $250. Owners of hybrid electric vehicles would pay $175.

“Those who own these types of vehicles do not feel the full effects of a high gas tax but are still able to benefit from the roads and bridges funded by that tax,” Mastriano said. “I believe it to be perfectly logical to ask these owners to pay their fair share through an increase in registration fees.”

Mastriano added that he hopes the gas tax holiday will serve as a useful pilot for a possible long-term phase-out of the state’s fuel tax.

SB813 is in the Senate Transportation Committee. The bill can be considered once the Senate reconvenes in September.

Not the first time

Mastriano’s bill is not the first attempt to authorize the state to collect additional revenue from owners of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles.

One year ago, a bill came up just shy of passage at the statehouse that included a requirement for affected vehicle owners to pay an additional fee for the registration and renewed registration of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Specifically, the legislation called for electric vehicle owners to pay $175 each year and commercial electric vehicle owners to pay $250. Hybrid vehicle owners would pay $75 annually.

Revenue would be deposited into the state’s motor license fund for highway maintenance and construction purposes.

The bill, SB845, awaited a final floor vote for clearance to the governor’s desk when the 2020 regular session ended. LL

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.