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Senate passes a fee increase on electric and hybrid vehicles

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The state Senate has decided to raise registration fees on electric cars and hybrids.

The bill – which passed 26 to 19 – raises registration on electric cars by $110, and on hybrids by $50. Supporters say that’s roughly equivalent to the gas tax collected from drivers, based on 12,000 miles driven each year, at 25 miles per gallon. The bill also calls for an interim study of the infrastructure needs for electric cars.

Sen. JoNell Bakke (D-Grand Forks) moved to divide the question. She opposed the increased fees, but supported the study. Bakke told her Senate colleagues the whole issue of vehicle registration fees needs to be looked at.

"It has not been addressed since 2000," Bakke said. "We're significantly low when you look at other states."

Bakke said rather than going after people who, as she put it, "are looking after the environment," the whole fee structure deserves study.

Sen. David Rust (R-Tioga) told the Senate he thought the proposed registration fee increases are fair.

"We all drive on roads," Rust said. "We all want those roads to be maintained. We do that predominantly through the gas tax."

Both sections remained in the bill. It will now be considered by the House.

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