By Emma Wulfhorst, NBC Montana

BOZEMAN, Mont. — The state reports there are close to 1,000 electric vehicles currently registered in Montana, but soon that could change.

“We believe that the market is moving towards electric vehicles, and we want Montanans to be encouraged to purchase electric vehicles rather than pay outrageous fees that would disincentivize them from purchasing these vehicles,” said Conor Ploeger, the clean energy program director at the Montana Environmental Information Center.

Those fees are outlined in House Bill 188. It is on its way to the governor’s desk.

The fees could be upward of $375 for electric SUV or light truck owners and $195 for smaller electric vehicles.

The annual fees would be on top of money drivers already pay yearly to register their cars.

The average cost to register a gas-powered SUV in Montana is $217. That means with the new fees, owners of electric SUVs could pay close to $600 every year to register their car.

“This would impose the highest registration fee for electric SUV and light truck owners in the nation and the third highest fee for standard electric vehicle ownership in the nation,” Ploeger said.

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