A carefully crafted bill would erase some of the economic benefits of opting for green transport in Florida without disturbing golf-carting populations in places like The Villages.
Sen. Ed Hooper recently filed a bill (SB 28) that would impose extra license costs for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles. But the Clearwater Republican’s bill appears to make a special exception for golf carts, a staple vessel for Floridians on and off the links.
The bill provides for an additional license tax for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles. The proposed tax for fully electric drivers is $200 annually until 2029, when it ramps up to $250 per year. The tax for hybrid owners is $50 per year, increasing to $100 in 2029.
Currently, Florida drivers pay a much cheaper license tax, ranging from $14.50 to $32.50, for most private vehicles depending on weight. Under the language of the bill, electric and hybrid owners would continue to pay these already-in-effect license taxes, too.
Notably, the additional tax burden would not apply to street-legal golf cart owners because of an early carveout in the bill.
The increased tax, according to the bill’s language, does not apply to vehicles using a battery system of up to five kilowatts per hour (KWH). A battery system powerful enough to back street-legal golf carts uses around 1-3 KWH. Meanwhile, the Tesla Model S runs on anywhere from 60 to 100 KWH systems.
So there’s no looming change for folks in The Villages, where many convert golf carts to street legal, registered “Low-Speed Vehicles.”
The proceeds from the tax will be distributed in a scheme intended to complement the fuel-tax spending.