Ohio drivers hope South Carolina hybrid tax won't spread

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Hybrid and electric car owners are paying close attention to a new South Carolina law that will charge an extra tax for owning gas-saving vehicles.

Proponents say it's because they are less dependent on gasoline, and carry less of the burden for road repair and maintenance, which comes from the gas tax drivers pay at the pump.

South Carolina lawmakers increased that tax this year to cover added costs.

The tax will charge drivers $60 for hybrids and $120 for all-electric cars, over a two-year period. That law goes into effect this year.

There's no sign yet that Ohio legislators will follow in their footsteps, but some hybrid drivers are worried this could become a trend that grows.

"I couldn't believe it," said Brian Roster, who just bought his hybrid Toyota Prius. "It's like, I don't know if they're in cahoots with some oil companies, with some lobbyists."

He says he bought his car to capitalize on savings at the pump.

While he's happy with his purchase, he says an additional tax might make him think twice about making the same choice.

"It depends on how high the tax got. It really does. So hopefully it will never come to that," he said.

Metro Toyota in Brook Park has new and used hybrid vehicles for sale, and owner Dan Schneider says demand is steady.

He says it rises and falls with gas prices.

While he doesn't think a similar tax In Ohio would make a huge difference, he says it might steer some drivers away from hybrids.

"I would be concerned if they were to put a tax or a fee on hybrids in Ohio that it could deter some people from wanting something that's better for the environment, better for the economy, better for their pocketbooks," he said.

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