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Tax plan would hit Gov. Brown’s special treatment of electric cars

By in Press Enterprise on November 10, 2017

By Christian Britschgi

If, and it’s still a big if, Congressional Republicans manage to pass their tax bill, Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans would take a big hit. The House GOP tax bill calls for eliminating the federal tax credit for electric vehicle purchases, which means Gov. Brown’s dreams of California roads that are free of gas-powered autos would likely come to a screeching halt.

The Republicans’ tax plan would zero out the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit after this year. Put into effect in 2010, this tax credit gives a $7,500 credit to purchasers of full-electric vehicles, like Teslas and Chevy Volts. California provides an additional $2,500 state rebate for electric cars. And, other, smaller tax credits are also available for hybrid vehicles.

Gov. Brown has leaned heavily on the federal electric car tax credit to push his policy goals. In 2012, Brown set a goal of having 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. Since then, he has reportedly suggested going even farther. Bloomberg recently reported, “Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview.”

Brown’s attempts to rev up Californians’ demand for electric vehicles have come with a hefty price. Since his inauguration in 2011, California has handed out $463 million in tax rebates for hybrid and electric vehicle purchases and spent another $80 million on the charging stations and infrastructure needed to support the cars.

Those are just the carrots. California has also deployed the stick to get people out of their gas guzzlers. The state gas tax just went up 12 cents a gallon and California is consistently tightening its already strict vehicle emissions standards. Yet despite all these efforts, California’s fleet of electric vehicles remains relatively tiny. Out of […]    

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