Editorial

Electric Car Tax Subsidies Survive; Save The Earth Or Welfare For The Rich?

Buy a Volt, get a $7,500 tax cut

The federal tax reform bill expected to be approved by Congress this week temporarily retains a tax credit for people who buy an electric car. The provision gives buyers of all-electric and plug-in hybrids up to $7,500 off their federal tax bill. According to the Detroit Free Press, automakers were pleased the perk survived tax reform.

“We support any kind of incentive that could convince consumers to purchase electric vehicles,” said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s chief lobbying group.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra agrees, saying last week that repealing the tax credit “changes the equation that determines whether people want an electric vehicle.”

ForTheRecord says: According to a study from the University of California – Berkeley, about 90 percent of all dollars from the electric vehicle tax break goes to the wealthiest Americans. Of all the federal credits for clean energy investments, the report says those used on hybrid and electric vehicles benefit the richest 20 percent of Americans the most. In the tax reform package, the credit phases down by 50 percent every six months until it disappears.