EV Registration Fee in Colorado

September 15, 2022

It seems like the world of 2022 is full of fees. Fees to bring a car­ry-on with Fron­tier Air­lines. Fees to book a place to stay in Airbnb. Fees to park your car at a hotel park­ing lot. And none of them ever feel great to pay. How­ev­er, there is one fee I am hap­py to pay and that is the Plug-In Elec­tric Vehi­cle fee for the state of Colorado.

It was a sur­prise to see the fee the first time I reg­is­tered my EV in Garfield Coun­ty, as I did not know there was a EV fee at the time. At reg­is­tra­tion, I was also hand­ed a small stick­er decal to place on my wind­shield to “prove” my Tes­la Mod­el 3 was, indeed, an elec­tric car. I chuck­led to myself, think­ing, well…duh, of course a Tes­la is an EV. I have come to find out much lat­er after Uber­ing many pas­sen­gers in my Tes­la, that in fact, many peo­ple still think a Tes­la is a hybrid. “So, how small is the gas tank?” “You still get gas though, right?” Have been many a ques­tion I have field­ed dri­ving pas­sen­gers to and from their destinations.

So, the decal, which is designed to inform law enforce­ment, allows me to plug into state-fund­ed pub­lic charg­ers, such as those in the new DCFC cor­ri­dor being built out by the Col­orado Ener­gy Office. But what about the reg­is­tra­tion fee that I had to pay?

At reg­is­tra­tion, the fee comes to a grand total of $50 and is paid annu­al­ly at the time of renew­al. I was, excuse the pun, stick­er-shocked when I saw it and thought it was crazy to pay $50 to get a stick­er decal for my car. How­ev­er, dig­ging a bit deep­er, I came to real­ize this fee is quite prac­ti­cal and very much worth the price. Approx­i­mate­ly $30 of the fee is por­tioned for the State High­way Users Tax Fund, which is used for high­way main­te­nance. As a West Slope res­i­dent who trav­els the Divide often, I great­ly appre­ci­ate pay­ing my part for the work to make these roads passable.

The oth­er $20 of the fee is por­tioned for the fund­ing of the DCFC cor­ri­dor itself. This is a fund I am more than hap­py to pro­vide for, as its design is to increase the charg­ing infra­struc­ture state-wide via grants and allows out of town vis­i­tors to explore our state with­out fear of range anxiety.

How­ev­er, start­ing in year 2022, Col­orado Leg­is­la­tion has allowed the state to begin adjust­ing the rate of the fee annu­al­ly as a “road equal­iza­tion” fee. Essen­tial­ly, it gets more expen­sive to take care of the roads over time, and more EV’s means more vehi­cles with heavy bat­ter­ies adding more wear to the roads. As such, the fee could increase as much as $96 by2032. That seems steep think­ing about reg­is­tra­tion in ten years, but con­sid­er­ing today an aver­age Amer­i­can spends annu­al­ly between $150-$400 in gas tax alone for dri­ving an ICE vehi­cle, I'm not ter­ri­bly wor­ried as long as the fund­ing tru­ly expands our charg­ing infra­struc­ture to be very robust in all com­mu­ni­ties across our state.

Writ­ten by Ben Westby

Pho­tos by Ben Westby

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