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Has anyone mentioned talking to your local state legislator? They likely had to vote this, and may be able to give you the right introductions for getting it cleared up.

And if you volunteered for them.... I have a friend who is dealing with a developer who has the local board member's help navigating some BS because she helped out during a campaign.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
I've emailed my local state reps...not too surprisingly, they are all Democrats given they are representing Madison...and a few other Dems as well, along with Dem. Gov. Evers, though I also contacted Rep. Gov. Walker back in the day. Only State Senator Risser was nice enough to respond...much appreciated! I'll probably start getting back to folks now that I see that the categorization process is completely outsourced and hidden behind the proprietary walls of a private company. The whole thing is likely not going to be open to public scrutiny or open records requests. Definitely looking like a gotcha!

It really is critical that folks use the G1 Insight vs Malibu Eco challenge with their registration renewals. We need a refusal, if that is what is coming, hopefully with an explanation that WI DOT is powerless to question the (erroneous) categorization provided by their proprietary supplier. That will be the basis of additional challenges.

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I think we should just build guillotines.
 

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I am going to be sending my 1040 correction form in Soon even though registration isn’t due until August.

see what response if any I get.

last time I asked the dmv a question I got a don’t bother us response.
 

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If your state has an air quality organization, you should try taking it up through them. They may be able to make the correction directly on your DMV record!
 

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Discussion Starter #46 (Edited)
OK...I continue to try to find a way to get some transparency through WI open records requests on the outsourced, proprietary IHS Markit process for categorizing hybrid-electric vehicles . I will be looking for your help when submitting correction requests to also pursue public records on the process, as noted below. Here is my open records request to [email protected]:

From:
(Me)
(address)

(date...whatever)

To:
Records Custodian
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705

Dear WI DOT Records Custodian:

Under the Wisconsin Open Records Law, §19.31 - 19.39., I request documents in the form of correspondence with IHS Markit involving citizen requests through the MV1020 "TITLE/REGISTRATION CORRECTION REQUEST" form for correction of the categorization of hybrid-electric vehicles, as it relates to the hybrid-electric vehicle surcharge. Records would include WI DOT requests to IHS Markit for clarification of categorization of hybrid-electric vehicles, and responses, both general and detailed, from IHS Markit on acceptance or rejection of the correction, and, in the case of rejection, specific justifications from IHS Markit as to the reason for rejection. If it is necessary to redact details of VIN number, please provide description of the vehicle involved by make, model and year of the vehicle.

I expect this information can be provided electronically and I request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of which vehicles are subject to the hybrid-electric vehicle fee. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

I would request a response in writing, within the 5 days described by law, if you intend to deny this request. Also, if you expect a significant delay in fulfilling this request, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.

Sincerely,
(Me)
(phone)

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So, the problem with this is that it may be rejected because WI DOT will not release "private" information, specifically the VIN which is what drives this process. We'll see. But, to get around this, anyone that submits an MV1020 "Registration Correction Request" form should attach an open records request to it, and send the same request separately to the [email protected] address (with parenthesized modifications). It would look like:
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Please correct my vehicle registration to remove the hybrid-electric vehicle registration fee of $75. This XXXX (year) Honda Insight is a mild-hybrid vehicle equivalent to a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco that is exempt from the $75 fee. This XXXX Honda Insight is, therefore, also exempt from the $75 fee based on these comparative specifications taken from descriptions of the two vehicles:

Malibu Eco: 15-kW motor-generator
Honda Insight: The electric motor on the Insight is rated at 10 kilowatts
Malibu Eco: Electric motor cannot power the car by itself
Honda Insight: Electric motor cannot power the car by itself; the gas engine must be running for the car to move
Malibu Eco : Lithium-ion battery provides electrical boost in various driving scenarios
Honda Insight: Electric Motor assists gasoline engine for extra power while the car is accelerating or climbing a hill
Malibu Eco: Automatic (electric motor) smooth engine start-stop functionality
Honda Insight: Electric Motor Starts the engine
Malibu Eco: Regenerative braking, which provides up to 15 kW of electricity to charge the battery
Honda Insight: Motor acts as a generator and recharges the batteries using a process called regenerative braking
Malibu Eco: 0.5 kWh, 115V lithium-ion battery
Honda Insight: 0.9 kWh, 144V NiMH battery
Malibu Eco: 2.4L Ecotec direct-injection four-cylinder engine rated at an estimated 180 hp
Honda Insight: 1.0-liter, three-cylinder that produces 67 horsepower
Malibu Eco: Weighs about 3700lb
Honda Insight: The Insight weighs less than 1,900 pounds

The primary difference between these two vehicles is the curb weight and the size of the gasoline engine. These distinctions are not relevant to the hybrid classification.

As part of this correction request, I am also submitting the following open record request here and directly to the WI DOT open records custodian:

Dear WI DOT Records Custodian:

Under the Wisconsin Open Records Law, §19.31 - 19.39., I request documents in the form of correspondence with IHS Markit involving my citizen request through this (the) MV1020 "TITLE/REGISTRATION CORRECTION REQUEST" form (I have submitted) for correction of the categorization of my vehicle, VIN #xxxxxxxxxxx, as it relates to the hybrid-electric vehicle surcharge. Records would include WI DOT requests to IHS Markit for clarification of categorization of hybrid-electric vehicles, and responses, both general and detailed, from IHS Markit on acceptance or rejection of the correction, and, in the case of rejection, specific justifications from IHS Markit as to the reason for rejection.

I expect this information can be provided electronically and I request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of which vehicles are subject to the hybrid electric vehicle fee. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes.

I would request a response in writing, within the 5 days described by law, if you intend to deny this request. Also, if you expect a significant delay in fulfilling this request, please contact me with information about when I might expect copies or the ability to inspect the requested records.

If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.

Thank you for considering my request.
------

I may be running out of steam on this, but it is such a travesty that I'll probably keep going until the brick wall starts hurting my head...

B
 

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Discussion Starter #48
OK...I continue to try to find a way to get some transparency through WI open records requests on the outsourced, proprietary IHS Markit process for categorizing hybrid-electric vehicles . I will be looking for your help when submitting correction requests to also pursue public records on the process, as noted below.
...
So, the problem with this is that it may be rejected because WI DOT will not release "private" information, specifically the VIN which is what drives this process. We'll see. But, to get around this, anyone that submits an MV1020 "Registration Correction Request" form should attach an open records request to it, and send the same request separately to the [email protected] address (with parenthesized modifications). It would look like:
...
So, my general open records request for getting categorization details on refusal to make the correction did not work. I think it is because there are no error correction requests from hybrid owners to date. So, please, anyone that has received a registration renewal request for a G1 Insight, use the registration correction request along with the open records request to try to pry out the info on how WI DOT intends to respond to the bad categorizations that IHS Markit is providing. If you've received a reg renewal and it has the $75 surcharge, it is really critical to do this. If you've received a reg renewal and it DOESN'T include the $75, that would be an unlikely win. In either case, please let me (us) know that you've received a reg renewal. There must be some out there. And I (we) really need to challenge WI DOT if the surcharge is there.

B
 

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Fascinating story. Sure looks like IHS Markit has a conflict of interest, but then which set of politics anywhere in this country doesn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
In my communications with IHS Markit, I pointed out the exact problem. Their answer was that you should take it up with WI DOT. And, of course WI DOT's answer (so far) is that they use whatever IHS Markit responds with from their VINtelligence app. And, then, of course, IHS Markit indicates they do not share any proprietary info on VINtelligence. Catch 22...

The only chance I see at the moment is for folks to challenge the surcharge for the G1 Insight against the Malibu Eco, and then have WI DOT justify their decision.

Part of the problem is that WI DOT has specifically carved out only a subset of hybrids, mainly the Prius class hybrids, for the surcharge. By exempting the "mild" hybrids, they have absolutely not gone by even the most narrow reading (including only hybrids vs every vehicle that uses spark plugs) of the definition for hybrid-electric vehicle (capable of using both electricity and gasoline, diesel fuel, or alternative fuel to propel the vehicle), in an attempt to reduce complaints that the MPG differences between surcharge and non-surcharge vehicles is not sufficient to justify the $75 amount. The WI Leg Fiscal Bureau paper says as much, and they further say the whole concept is bogus. But, that's where we are....

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Discussion Starter #52
I've received responses to one of my WIDOT Open Records Requests about details on the use of IHS Markit's VINtelligence application. That's the proprietary method WIDOT uses to categorize gas-only hybrid-electric vehicles to be subject to the $75 surcharge. It looks like WIDOT gives IHS Markit (or its Polk "subsidiary") $11,500/year for the privilege of hiding the categorization process for this taxation within VINtelligence. So, 150 (gas-only) payers of the surcharge get to contribute their $$ to this opaque company for the privilege of being scr...wed. IHS Markit (Polk) makes a nice sales pitch that their VINtelligence app is used in at least 47 other states, and numerous counties, around the country. So, figure they make between a half and one million bucks telling the government who should be taxed (and, admittedly, who should and should not be allowed in HOV lanes that allow "inherently low emission vehicles" - ILEVs). And, of course, the government doesn't need to have any idea about how IHS Markit comes up with their categorizations.

Wisconsin did a sole source purchase of VINtelligence, so IHS Markit did a good job convincing WIDOT that they were the opaque product of choice to get them the $7M revenue stream they promised. Of course, WIDOT could have done this in-house using a free VIN decoder base, like NHTSA's decoder. But then the process would need to be properly vetted and open to scrutiny by folks like me, ...you know... the public, subject to arbitrary application of surcharges/taxation.

For G1 Insight owners, I still recommend contesting the fee based on a technical comparison with a vehicle not subject to the fee (Malibu Eco) as posted earlier. As a challenge to the technical implementation of the surcharge, there is at least a possibility to force a correction internal to WIDOT and the VINtelligence app, or at least to see what justification flows from IHS Markit back to WIDOT (if the Open Records Request is honored).

B
 

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If you get a WI registration renewal for your G1 Insight that specifies you owe the extra $75 hybrid fee, submit a WI DOT form MV1020. Check the "Other" box. Attach an NHTSA VIN decoder output for your VIN with a note indicating that the "Primary Fuel Type" is "Gasoline" and not "Hybrid" or "Electric". Also include your renewal certificate. This is a recommendation I received from a WI DOT representative. It doesn't cost much to do. It may or may not be rejected (DOT person wouldn't say). Hopefully, if it is rejected they will say why, but probably not. If we all do it, maybe WI DOT will notice!

If you are submitting a new registration/transfer after Oct 1st, 2019, please do the same thing.

The $75 fee is showing up on recent renewals (prior to Oct 1st, 2019). The expectation is that will be on all renewals and registrations after Oct. 1st.

Check the more detailed discussion...

B
I wish I would have known. I paid the $75 I will try
 

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Discussion Starter #54
First attempt was a loss...I submitted the MV1020 with the comparison to the Malibu Eco. The initial response was tentative and that WIDOT had to confer with IHS Markit about the VINtelligence results for my 2002 Honda Insight. Those results apparently did NOT include what WIDOT uses as a critical result to classify my Insight as hybrid, that being "Engine-Fuel-Type-Secondary" as "Electric". So, based on my challenge, IHS Markit apparently fixed that so now it DOES include that result (as of today - sorry other 1999-2005 G1 owners, but it would have been no help anyway). Then I "requested" that, if my Insight is charged the fee, then the Malibu Eco should be charged since, when I look at the VIN decoding results, the Eco also has the "Electric" parameter in the secondary fuel type field. WIDOT insists that the "Electric" parameter is either not there or is "selectively" not applicable to the Eco, according to the VINtelligence response. I was basically told that I don't have standing to request details about the VINtelligence results for the Eco since I do not own one and I am not making a registration error request regarding one I own. I doubt that I'll find an Eco owner that would want to contest his/her registration so that it includes the hybrid surcharge, so it looks like a dead end. But if anyone knows Eco owners that want to be a good citizens, please get them involved. The WIDOT result is not really unexpected, but a drag nonetheless.

I may try to contest again using the equal protection argument, but for WIDOT, that is a legal argument and I assume they are strictly going to focus on technical issues.

I am actually at the point that I may be cutting back on my Insight ownership. The most likely candidate is this 2002, probably to sell/dispose in Wisconsin come April. So I may delay registration until then. I may not get much (or any) $$ for it, but it may be an opportunity to NOT give $228 to WIDOT.

B
 

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Discussion Starter #56 (Edited)
I would have expected the registration fee to be $110 ($85 base with $25 Marathon County wheel tax). $185 would mean that WIDOT is charging the hybrid surcharge. I don't think that is the case. The dealer must expect that, since it is called a hybrid vehicle, there should be a charge. But the WI Legislature/WIDOT has carved out this exception I assume to mute complaints that there is absolutely no basis to charge a 29MPG car more than any other 29MPG car just because it happens to include a battery and an electric motor somewhere in the drivetrain. However, an Insight (and especially a Prius) that just happens to have a battery and electric motor somewhere in the drivetrain is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT because they get 50MPG. Of course, the "collateral-damaged" hybrid vehicles like the hybrid RAV4s and such that get around 40MPG must also pay. Entirely arbitrary. Entirely bogus.

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Hey folks, I'm a digit head for the DMV of another state that uses Vintelligence.

Here's what Vintelligence is -- it's a software package that uses your automobile's VIN code to determine all sorts of information, include the vehicle's fuel type. Vintelligence gets its data from each of the automobile manufacturers, and more or less has a big lookup table that uses 9 of the first 10 digits of your VIN to report back the information.

Here's the thing -- Vintelligence is only as good as its data, and the data coming from the manufacturers is not consistent, and in the case of fuel type, not dependable. In fact Vintelligence has no coding for the Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicle fuel type category. In some cases those 9 digits assigned by the manufacturer don't indicate a clear separation of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, so Vintelligence will be powerless to provide accurate data even if they correct the plug-in-hybrid shortcoming in their software.

Since your state DMV needs to do this kind of thing in bulk, likely for millions of vehicles, they are using the best tool for the job in spite of its shortcomings. This particular shortcoming is more eggregious than most (if it makes you feel better Ford F-350s getting coded as plug-in vehicles!) and you guys just happened to get stomped on by it. If your DMV is anything like mine they would absolutely love for these problems to go away, but they don't have sufficient tools to do it. As it stands we go through a detailed, tedious process to identify VINs by hand to create a secondary lookup table, with is costly and doesn't completely work against what is more or less a moving target.

I am on this site because I googled another problem with the software -- incorrect model years -- and saw the conversation you were having. In my state presenting the car's window sticker when it was sold or a letter of description of the vehicle which can be printed up at a dealership by the customer service team is sufficient to clear up the issue. Here's hoping the same is true in Badgerland.
 

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Hey folks, I'm a digit head for the DMV In my state presenting the car's window sticker when it was sold or a letter of description of the vehicle which can be printed up at a dealership by the customer service team is sufficient to clear up the issue. Here's hoping the same is true in Badgerland.
Sadly, our law is written such that a mild hybrid
AKA a car that can’t drive on battery alone does not pay the fee but a full hybrid should.

Semantics wise there is absolutely no way to prove what is a mild hybrid and what is not.
 

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Discussion Starter #59 (Edited)
I received my denial but not a detailed response to my Open Records Request. But, from what I understand, the Vintelligence software did NOT initially flag my Insight as having Electric as the Secondary Fuel Type (as was reflected in the NHTSA VIN decoder, apparently based on the Vintelligence application). Seems I should NOT have been initially flagged as hybrid based on that? But the Vintelligence folks subsequently did a little research and, SHAZAM, suddenly my Insight fell in line. As you say, Vintelligence seems both unreliable and arbitrary...perfect tool to hide behind a curtain of proprietary barriers...and flexible to make it do what has already been decided it is meant to do...
 

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both unreliable and arbitrary...perfect tool to hide behind a curtain of proprietary barriers...and flexible to make it do what has already been decided it is meant do...
You broke the code ;)

Isn't this true of all modern government interaction. Your representatives only send smiley form letters any more.
 
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