By VICTOR E. SASSON
New Jersey officials have been sending mixed messages to owners of all-electric cars.
As an incentive, the state waives the 7% sales tax on EV purchases. That's a $5,600 savings on an $80,000 Tesla Model S 60.
And last year, Governor Christie signed a bill that allows Tesla to sell its revolutionary cars directly to consumers.
Now, Democrats and Republicans in the state Legislature are trying to convince the governor to approve a higher gas tax to save the Transportation Trust Fund, which is expected to run out of money in about two weeks.
As part of the deal, the legislative leaders have offered to phase out the state's estate tax in three years, and boost to $75,000 the amount a retiree may exclude from income taxes.
And EV owners would be required to pay $150 extra every time they renew their registrations "to offset lost gas-tax revenue," The Record of Woodland Park reports today.
New Jersey car owners are required to register annually.
There are about 2,500 EVs among the 5.7 million registered vehicles in New Jersey -- far fewer than in New York State (12,000), Massachusetts (5,500) and even Connecticut (3,000).
The $150 penalty doesn't make sense, given how zero-emission EVs benefit the environment.
In unveiling the Model 3 on March 31, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted record high carbon-dioxide levels, and said 53,000 people are killed every year by auto emissions.
So, maybe the $150 fee should be levied on any car using gasoline -- not on EVs.