Explained: Why registration fees are increasing for electric and hybrid vehicles

While there are many incentives for EV owners across the state, there is a price to pay.

WStoday: EV vehicles in Winston-Salem

There are 190 charging stations in Winston-Salem, according to PlugShare.

While the future of transportation may be electric, the prices are getting an electrical charge.

North Carolina’s electric vehicle ownership has increased by 230% since 2018. According to the latest vehicle registration data available, over 46,000 zero-emission vehicles were registered in the state in May 2023. Data shows 2,045 full-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles were registered in Forsyth County as of November 2023, a 65% increase from the previous year.

Currently a new vehicle registration fee for plug-in hybrid vehicles is $90, but the fee is expected to increase by 19.1% — to $107 — in July 2024. The fee for new electric vehicle registrations is expected to increase to $214.

Why are prices increasing?

According to NCGo! advocates during a transportation meeting in November, the surplus of EVs created a financial gap for NCDOT. While EVs have plenty of benefits, the increase in registration fees will help fill the gap needed for infrastructure investments, such as providing funds to patch potholes on roads— similar to gas taxes for gas-fueled vehicles.

Currently, owners of electric and hybrid vehicles in NC pay less in combined gas taxes and registration fees compared to owners of gasoline-powered vehicles, but this may soon change in the coming years.

In fiscal year 2024-2025, the number of EV registrations statewide is projected to increase by 11% annually based on recent growth trends (page 11 of the legislative note). Registrations are expected to increase 32% annually, based on a Goldman Sachs estimate for projected growth of electric vehicles purchased.

Moving forward

To participate in conversations on how these price increases will affect drivers across the state, the NC Department of Transportation will hold a summit May 21 and May 22 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The general public can register to attend and share their thoughts on these new changes.