Wisconsin would join five other states that impose special fees on electric and hybrid vehicles if the proposed $50 annual charge put forward by the Department of Transportation becomes law.
The proposal must win approval in the Legislature and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker before becoming law. The new fee would take effect in 2016.
Steve Hiniker, executive director of the environmental group 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, said Monday that the fee would penalize people for doing the right thing by purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles.
The state DOT says that while the vehicles have a positive environmental impact, owners pay little if any motor fuel tax to help cover costs of road maintenance and operations.
Washington, Colorado, Nebraska, Virginia and North Carolina have fees for electric vehicles.