Challenged: Sierra Club Files Suit Over Oklahoma Electric Car Fee

The Sierra Club has filed a state lawsuit in Oklahoma, challenging the legislature’s passage of H.B.1449, a bill that institutes a fee for the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs).

Signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin at the end of May, the bill establishes a $100 fee for the registration of an EV and $30 for a hybrid vehicle.

With thousands of members in the state of Oklahoma – many of whom drive EVs – the Sierra Club asserts that this fee is “arbitrary” and has been established “without justification.”

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that H.B.1449 is unconstitutional because it was a revenue-raising bill passed in the last five days of the legislative session, “a time when (the state) was admittedly searching desperately for funding to fill a huge budget gap.”

In a statement in response to the legislation, Johnson Bridgewater, the Sierra Club Oklahoma chapter director, comments, “Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, electric vehicles provide considerable benefits to Oklahoma; their lack of tailpipe emissions improves Oklahoman’s air quality and benefits their health.

“With no rhyme or reason behind the legislation, the arbitrary fee has no connection to the actual costs and benefits of electric vehicles – in fact, it requires electric vehicle drivers to pay more than they would in gas taxes.”

According to Bridgewater, “The real reason behind this exorbitant fee is to punish electric vehicle owners for making the switch to cleaner transportation and protecting Oklahoma’s roads and public health.”

“There are clear signs that the car industry is poised to go electric quickly, and in Oklahoma, this switch is badly needed,” he continues. “To clean up Oklahoma’s dirty air, cut climate emissions and assure Oklahoma is keeping up with the transition to a clean energy economy, we need to accelerate the transition to clean, electric vehicles. Unfortunately, this fee will pump the brakes on clean transportation.”

More details on the lawsuit to come. Click here for more information on the bill.

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