Heavier EVs Tear Up California Roadways But Pay Nothing for Road Maintenance


Can it be true that California, in pursuit of reduced emissions from internal combustion engine vehicles, has mandated that heavier EV cars and trucks tear up the state’s roads? Shockingly, the state has no accompanying mandate on those heavier vehicles to contribute funds to the maintenance and repairs of the roads they will be utilizing!

An EV battery for a sedan weighs 1,000 pounds, while heavy-duty electric truck batteries can weigh up to 16,000 pounds, which is 16 times more than the Tesla battery.

California has almost 400,000 miles of roadways used by the State’s 30 million vehicles. Those roadways are heavily dependent on road taxes from fuels that contribute more than $8.8 billion annually, the same gas tax revenues that also fund many environmental programs and the high-speed rail project. That $8.8 billion revenue source will diminish in the decades ahead as EVs begin to replace internal combustion engine vehicles.

A 2022 ranking of state-by-state road health by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card puts California in second-to-last place, tied with six other states with a grade of D. Only one state’s rating was worse — Mississippi, which got a D-minus. Despite the failing grade from the ASCE, spending on roads continues to grow as California drivers traverse some of the worst in the country.

California’s aggressive transition to 100% zero-emission cars and light trucks by 2035 is critical to the state’s plan to fight against climate change. The potential addition of 30 million heavier vehicles on some of the worst in the country may not bode well for happy drivers already paying the highest gas taxes in America.

California already pumps out the highest state gas tax rate of 77.9 cents per gallon (CPG), followed by Illinois (66.5 CPG) and Pennsylvania (62.2 CPG).

According to Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022–23 Proposed Budget, the motor vehicle fuel taxes generated $6.5 billion in revenue in 2021–22 and will produce an estimated $8.8 billion ($7.4 billion in 2022–23 from gasoline, and with an estimated $1.4 billion for 2022–23 from diesel).

The heavier EV cars and trucks will put more wear and tear on California’s poor roadways. How will the State replace $8.8 billion from fuel taxes to maintain the California roadways?

A report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) projects a net transportation funding decline of about $4.4 billion — or 31% — within the next decade. This money is a primary funding source for highway maintenance. The report says these revenue decreases, especially if left unchecked, could result in deteriorating highway conditions for drivers.

Read the rest of this piece at America Out Loud.

Ronald Stein is an engineer, senior policy advisor on energy literacy for the Heartland Institute and CFACT, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book "Clean Energy Exploitations."

Photo: courtesy America Out Loud.