RICHMOND — Owners of electric-powered mopeds could be hit with a $100 annual registration fee as a result of legislation passed by the 2013 General Assembly.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, the fee is an unintended consequence of the sweeping transportation funding bill and a separate measure regulating mopeds.
The road funding measure includes a $100 registration surcharge on alternative vehicles such as hybrids. And because mopeds would be classified as state-registered vehicles, those with electric motors would be subject to the fee. Owners of electric scooters that retail in some places for $800 to $900 would pay more than one-tenth of the purchase price in annual fees.
Meanwhile, gas-powered mopeds would be subject to a $14 state fee.
“This is just one more example of why the consequences of the $100 hybrid tax have not been completely thought through,” said Del. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax County, who is waging a campaign to get the fee on all alternative vehicles stricken from the transportation bill.
State officials, including Lynchburg Republican Sen. Steve Newman, who sponsored moped bill, recently became aware of the overlap with the road revenue bill and its effect on electric mopeds. Newman has asked Gov. Bob McDonnell to amend the bill to fix the program.
A McDonnell spokesman said the governor will ensure that the final legislation does not require owners of electric mopeds to pay a $100 annual fee.
McDonnell has not said whether he will veto the $100 fee on other alternative vehicles, which would be annually assessed on top of the regular car registration fee. The so-called hybrid fee was in the governor's original transportation bill.
Newman's bill would require mopeds to be registered by July 1, 2014, but they still don't have to be insured and drivers could operate them without a license, though they would be required to carry some form of photo identification. It also requires moped riders to wear helmets and have protection such as a face shield or goggles.