News Story

Michigan tips scales in favor of electric cars

Incredible transition continues at dealerships, gas stations

President Joe Biden’s campaign to get car owners to switch to electric vehicles has plenty of support from Michigan politicians.

Biden restated his support for phasing out gasoline-powered transportation when he met recently with Fumio Kishida, prime minister of Japan.

“When it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” the president said.

Local leaders are heeding that call.

In the Michigan Legislature, several Democrats, joined by two House Republicans, are seeking special favors to the electric vehicle industry. Bills under consideration in the House and Senate would exempt EV purchasers from sales and use taxes. They also would give purchasers $2,500 toward the cost of an electric vehicle and a home-based charging station.

Democrats in Congress pushed through part of the administration’s wide-ranging green energy agenda with an infrastructure bill that gives $5 billion in taxpayer money to the electric vehicle industry.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, echoed Biden’s vision of bringing the gas-powered automobile to a grinding, costly halt when she reported having felt insouciant about high gas prices while driving her electric vehicle from Lansing to Washington. 

Lansing has also maintained the state's unusual double-taxation scheme on gasoline as Michigan drivers continue to suffer. The state government takes both a per-gallon excise tax and a percentage-based gas sales tax. D.C. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this year vetoed a bill that would have suspended the state’s 27.2 cent per gallon gas excise tax.

Legislators are pushing ahead with a set of bills providing rewards for sales of e-cars. 

House Bill 6234 was introduced by Rep. Carol Glanville, D-Walker. It would exempt used electric car purchases from the state sales tax. 

House Bill 6233, introduced by Rep. Terry Sabo, D-Muskegon, would exempt used EV sales from the state use tax. 

Senate Bill 1017, introduced by Sen. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, would give $2,000 in taxpayer money to those who could afford to purchase an electric vehicle with a price of up to $80,000. In the House, Rep. Matt Koleszar, D-Plymouth. proposed House Bill 6054 to accomplish the same purpose. Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant, and Rep. Jack O'Malley, R-Lake Ann, are among the co-sponsors of that bill, along with several Democrats. 

Senate Bill 1016, introduced by Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, calls for the state to give individuals up to $500 for the purchase and installation of an electric charging station in the home. In the House, Rep. Scott VanSingel, a Republican from Grant, introduced a similar measure, House Bill 6055. Rep. Jack O’Malley is a co-sponsor of the bill, along with several Democrats. 

Some of the bill sponsors have supported relief for current drivers in addition to subsidies for electric vehicle projects. Sabo, VanSingel, O'Malley, McCann, and Polehanki all voted for the suspension of the gas tax.

None of the lead sponsors of these bills responded to email requests for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.