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HB 1053: Increase Taxes on Electric Cars by $100 a Year

South Dakota Republicans are taking another swing at raising taxes on electric cars. This time Representative Mark Willadsen (R-11/Sioux Falls) gets to carry House Bill 1053, a measure that would charge South Dakotans an extra $100 a year to put plates on Prii, Leaves, Teslae, and other electric four-wheelers. HB 1053 imposes no electric-privilege tax on motorcycles.

Republican legislators brought similar tax bills to punish anti-fossil-fuel drivers in 2018 and 2020. Their thesis is that electric cars help drivers evade gasoline tax, so we need to hit them up at the front end to make them pay their fair share for highways. But there’s an argument to be made that switching to electric vehicles produces social good and revenue shifts (buy less gasoline from elsewhere, buy more local goods and services!) that outweigh the loss in gasoline taxes.

Given our state’s eagerness to use low taxes as a way to lure tax dodgers here to register their RVs, I’d think Republicans would take the opposite tack: with all the states around us imposing some sort of special tax or fee on electric vehicles, they could easily tap a new revenue stream by keeping our electric car license fees at parity with the gas hogs and thus tempting all the Bolters and Golfers in Ellendale, Ortonville, Sioux City, Valentine, and Newcastle to come license their zap-zap zoom-zooms here.

When the Legislature sloughs off its opening laziness, House Bill 1053 will get its first hearing in House Transportation.


  1. John 2021-01-20

    HB 1053 is vindictive nonsense. The facts from highway engineers prove that virtually all highway damage and wear and tear comes from heavy vehicles – trucks. Trucks are the vehicles that should pay their fair share in proportion to the road damage and road wear and tear they cause.

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-01-20

    Colorado gives a $4000 tax credit for buying an electric vehicle. (Currently reduced to $2500 until the Democratic majority, 2021 legislature raises it, again. Rumor is it will soon be $7,000)
    SoDak = H.W.S. (Historically Wrong Sided)
    Tesla is the most popular and most profitable car company in the world for a reason. – Users love the product.

  3. Prairie farmer 2021-01-20

    Of a contrary opinion, electric cars pay no fuel tax as far as I know. However, they still use the roads that need to be plowed and sanded as well as ditches that need to be mowed and weeds sprayed.
    Plus upkeep on signage as well as road markings!

    So yes heavy vehicle cause more damage to roads but that repairs are not the only thing that is needed to maintain the highway system!

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-01-20

    Well someone has to pay for the roads. North Dakota pays less than any state for its roads. South Dakota is next. How about a travel toll bill and stop relying on the Feds.

  5. jerry 2021-01-20

    Not contrary at all Prairie farmer, glad you bough that up. “. EVs do pay taxes that may support road construction and maintenance, as well as other taxes that support other goals. Since EVs generally cost more than their conventional counterparts, they pay higher sales taxes (in states with sales tax) and higher municipal excise taxes. An analysis by the Acadia Center showed that, in Massachusetts, these impacts result in EVs contributing more to state and local revenues than comparable gasoline vehicles.”

    No need to concern yourself regarding our road repair system. It has been in decline for 40 years, which coincidentally, is about the same time republicans took to destroying government.

  6. ds 2021-01-20

    Of course no intent to use the additional tax revenue to install charging stations across South Dakota. Just another swat at these pesky electric vehicles from the diesel smog-belching illegally chipped dually pickup drivers. Every electric vehicle owner i have exchanged conservation with here in South Dakota has had several nasty encounters with the ROLLING COAL idiots. Once they notice an electric vehicle they immediately speed up and persist in tailgating and speeding up nearly crashing into us. Then they race by with their 7″ dump pipe aimed squarely at our electric vehicle and frequently attempt to nearly force us off the road.
    I give up. I will not pay this tax. I will sell our USA assembled Chevy Bolt on EBay before paying this tax. But i’ll walk before i drive a diesel vehicle.

  7. Edwin Arndt 2021-01-20

    Just take the trucks off the road for ten days, and then
    see how many car are still running.

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