Middle class couldn’t afford EVs without tax credit

gas-tax-leaf-charge-portseditors-blog-entry3Just what we don’t need: A U.S. Congressman pushing to eliminate the $7,500 federal tax credit right at the time that EVs are starting to take off in the U.S.

Yet that’s exactly what we have in H.R. 3768, a piece of legislation introduced by Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Mike Kelly that would repeal the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicle buyers.

As Inhabit.Com pointed out today, it’s surely no coincidence that Kelly, who’s worth about $34 million and is one of the 25 richest members of Congress, made most of his money investing in – you guessed it — oil and gas stocks!

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Tax credit key to affordability
But it really doesn’t matter who’s taking aim at this tax credit, even if it is contemptible that it’s someone who’s so clearly in the pocket of Big Oil: If the drive to eliminate the credit succeeds, it will almost certainly have a devastating effect on EV sales, as it will push EVs out of the affordable range for middle class Americans such as ourselves.

While an EV is likely to save money in the long run — especially if it’s solar-charged, which ours would be (we’re currently sitting on about $3,500 worth of banked gasoline replacement generated by our 5.59 home solar system), large up-front costs are a big, big barrier to many, again, including us.

For example, a Nissan LEAF, which we could get for just under $30,000 out of pocket with the $7,500 federal tax credit, soars to $37,000 without it – and that doesn’t include sales tax or the cost of interest on a substantial loan we’d need to take out to buy a LEAF.

I’m subsidizing your cheap gasoline with my health and my kids’ health while you spew carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and particulates directly into my lungs with your gas stinker.

Basically, without the federal tax credit, we aren’t getting a LEAF, or pretty much any other new production plug-in. Period.

Subsidies, EVs and gas stinkers
Now, you might say: Well if you can’t afford an unsubsidized EV, then you don’t deserve one! Hell if I’m going to fork over MY tax dollars to help you get your coveted EV.

My response:

  • Big Oil and those artificially low gas prices you’re enjoying are heavily subsidized, to the tune of several billion dollars every year;
  • I’m subsidizing your cheap gasoline with my health and my kids’ health while you spew carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and particulates directly into my lungs with your gas stinker. And there’s the environmental damage subsidy you conveniently ignore, meaning, the truly massive environmental costs you’re imposing on the planet via the CO2 you’re spewing out of your gas car’s tailpipe. With a solar-charged EV, I wouldn’t be pumping out any pollution at all, saving all of us the devastating health and environmental costs that currently subsidize “cheap” gasoline, and, yes, “cheap” coal.

Anti-EV crowd piles it on
The anti-EV crowd has really been piling it on lately (Chevy Volt fires, the alleged $250,000 Chevy Volt etc.). And they’re getting louder and louder.

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For instance, check out this thoroughly skewed and ill-informed Washington Post editorial on the EV tax credit (please, then read this well-argued deconstruction of the Post editorial by the media watchdog group Media Matters).

That’s because anti-EVers feel threatened by the positive, and inevitable, change that is already thoroughly underway in the U.S., and around the world. That anti-EVers feel threatened is hardly surprising. But it’s nonetheless aggravating.

Of course, the loud anti-EV rhetoric, couched so frequently as it is in outright hypocrisy, as it is in Congressman Kelly’s case, only makes me, and the countless other EV advocates out there – whose number is growing rapidly every day – more determined than ever to fight as hard as we can to win one of the most important American political battles of our lifetime: The battle to move the U.S. from dirty, polluting, foreign-oil fired gasoline cars to clean, renewable energy, domestically-powered EVs.

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