Our association has long supported equity when it comes to road usage taxes imposed on commercial trucks.
Commercial vehicles in Idaho make up 12% of all miles driven annually in the state of Idaho and support 43% of the fuel tax collected for roads. The current state fuel tax is $0.32 per gallon of diesel fuel. The average truck in Idaho spends over $5,000 annually on diesel fuel tax. The state of Idaho also taxes natural gas (LNG) that is used in commercial trucks, and a few years ago adopted a hydrogen tax, but at this time there are no hydrogen commercial vehicles being used in Idaho. Electric commercial trucks are starting to appear in Idaho, but unlike traditional gas, LNG and hydrogen, there is no tax structure for electric trucks.
Some say electric vehicles need to be subsidized due to their high up-front costs compared to a diesel truck, but they already enjoy grants and tax breaks on the purchase of them while diesel trucks do not receive those tax breaks. We expect that more electric trucks are coming, especially with the new Federal EPA rules that will be implemented in 2027 on diesel emissions, which will continue to increase the costs of a diesel truck.
Some cities in Idaho are looking at or have already mandated electric trucks for uses like refuse collections. These mandates create another equity issue and require individuals that buy gas and diesel to subsidize the roads while electric trucks do not contribute. In Ada County alone, it costs $8,652 annually per lane mile for road maintenance, and which should be supported by all users of the road system. Our association also believes that the kind of truck a company uses should be based on economics, not mandates that only increase costs that will be passed onto consumers.
The state of Idaho has a higher registration fee for passenger electric vehicles to make up for the loss of fuel taxes, but commercial trucks are not included. Four states have already enacted a Kilowatt-hour tax to replace the fuel tax on electric vehicles. This tax is just like a fuel tax, where you pay a certain amount per Kilowatt-hour while charging the vehicle. The association will be proposing a bill this session for a Kilowatt-hour tax to address this equity issue in commercial trucking to ensure that all trucks that travel down the road pay their fair share. We hope the Idaho Legislature agrees that there is an equity issue for road taxes and agree to adopt this cost-effective approach for taxing commercial electric trucks.
— Allen Hodges is the president and CEO of the Idaho Trucking Association.