By Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service

HELENA, Mont. — Legislation in Montana that will create some of the highest registration fees for electric vehicles in the nation awaits Gov. Greg Gianforte’s signature.

The measure will add $375 to the annual registration fee for electric SUVs and light trucks, making it the highest for these types of vehicles in the country. It would add $195 to standard electric cars, the nation’s third-highest fee.

Conor Ploeger, clean energy program director for the Montana Environmental Information Center, said the increases run counter to the electric vehicle trend.

“If that’s what customers want to purchase, then they shouldn’t have to be punished in any way for wanting to choose that over a gas-powered vehicle,” Ploeger argued. “Especially if that’s where the market is heading, and that’s what the more available option may be throughout this decade.”

Car companies are making plans to increase their electric vehicle sales. General Motors has announced it plans to stop selling gas-powered cars by 2035.

Supporters of the Montana measure say it’s a way to ensure that electric vehicle owners are paying their fair share of taxes to maintain roads, since they don’t pay the taxes at gas pumps.

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