Under a bill introduced in the Legislature, electric-car owners would pay a special $100 fee each year over and above any other required fees and taxes, The Seattle Times reported Monday.
Senate Transportation Committee Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen said it's an issue of fairness.
"Electric cars will be driving on the highways right along with all the other cars. One of our biggest issues is preservation and maintenance of our existing highways," Haugen, lead sponsor of the bill, said. "We believe they should be paying their fair share."
The Washington Department of Transportation estimates an owner of a gasoline-powered car who drives 12,000 miles per year pays an average $204 in state gas taxes.
The state gas tax is 37.5 cents per gallon.
One anti-tax activist said he doesn't think what's in Haugen's bill is a fee at all.
"That's a tax. It's no fee," Tim Eyman said.
Automaker Nissan, which sells the all-electric Leaf sedan in the state, is neutral on the measure, company spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said.
"Whenever new technology is being introduced, we'd like to see as few barriers to entry as possible. However, we recognize the need for all drivers to contribute to road-maintenance funds," the company said in a statement provided by Zachary.