Despite a flurry of activity in December and thousands of emails and phone calls to Congressional offices (thank you!), an extension of the federal EV tax credit was left out of the final federal spending bill. According to Senator Debbie Stabenow, it was left out due to “extreme resistance from the president,” despite support from both sides of Congress. While the tax credit has been phasing out for Tesla and GM vehicles, it is still in place for automakers that have yet to sell 200,000 vehicles.
While this outcome is obviously not what we wanted, there are a few positives. The EV tax credit extension went from being a mostly unknown credit to one of the top Democrat priorities because of the strength we were able to demonstrate—and with a good number of sympathetic Republicans too. There were multiple letters sent from House Democrats to House Leadership calling for extending the EV tax credit. There were numerous op-eds written in papers around the country calling for extending the EV tax credit. There were advocacy days on Capitol Hill attended by the top utilities in the country calling for extending the EV tax credit. All this attention to the EV tax credit and EVs will certainly lead to more supportive policies at the state level and will set the stage for the next opportunity at the federal level to pass supportive policies.
And what are the next opportunities to extend the EV tax credit? Some members of Congress are looking to revive negotiations on extenders and energy tax credits in 2020. Others are looking to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to bring a bipartisan energy package together. Or, there’s also the possibility that a broad transportation infrastructure package moves through the House and back to the Senate. And of course, there’s always the lame duck session of Congress in November and December, which is probably the next big chance, though that also may depend on the election outcome. With new jobs and EV manufacturing being created in Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia, that certainly could help to bring some bipartisan support to the table, as well.
And what’s the math after the EV tax credit for Tesla and GM? Is an EV still a good deal? Is a Tesla or a Chevy Bolt still an amazing car? Definitely! While we still need the federal EV tax credit to work for more consumers for a longer period of time, EVs still offer a better ride and will save consumers money in the long-term compared to a gas vehicle. Demand for these clean cars continues to rise, despite any negative news articles or any ploy from the oil industry.
Plug In America has been fighting for the EV ever since the days of Who Killed the Electric Car? in the early 2000s. Now, 20 years later, we continue to keep fighting.