Assessing Alternatives to California’s Electric Vehicle Registration Fee

Research Lead: Alan Jenn

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: This study fulfills Section 48 of SB 1, which states that the University of California, Davis will conduct a study “that makes recommendations on potential methodologies to raise revenue from zero-emission and low-emission vehicle owners to achieve the state’s transportation electrification, clean air, and climate targets established under law while also ensuring those vehicle owners pay their fair share of any costs borne by motorists to fund improvements to the transportation system”.

Project Description: The report finds that the registration fee is not a sustainable funding mechanism in light of California’s transition towards ZEVs and the increase in fuel economy. Additionally, the fee detracts from the market adoption of ZEV technologies by as much as a 20% decrease in new ZEV sales. The report also examines alternative funding mechanisms including a fuel tax for hydrogen and electricity, as well as a road user charge (RUC). The report finds that a ZEV exclusive RUC is the most promising alternative to the ZEV registration fee.

Status: Completed

Budget: $171,278

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board, Caltrans, California Department of Motor Vehicles, California State Board of Equalization, California Assembly Transportation Committee, and California Senate Housing and Transportation Committee

Report(s):
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Policy Brief(s):
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