By Rachel Dawson
With the start of a new year, power customers will see a new charge on their electricity bills.
The Oregon legislature passed HB 2165 at the end of the 2021 session, which requires utilities to collect a monthly charge beginning January 1 for transportation electrification infrastructure. Of the funds collected, at least half must be spent on “underserved communities.”
Everyone will pay to support the 1% who can afford to register an electric vehicle (EV) in Oregon. And while some funds will be spent on underserved communities, the reality is that most EV owners are wealthy Portlanders.
Oregon politicians think they are smarter than the market. Just like with the rise of gasoline-powered cars in the 20th century, the free market will come up with a solution if there is sufficient consumer demand for a product. We certainly didn’t need the government to build gas stations to get people to buy cars. All new technology comes with risks. By funding EV infrastructure with utility rates, that risk now falls on ratepayers.
The state should stop subsidizing the EV industry and instead allow entrepreneurs to invest in EV infrastructure when there is real need for the product.Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.