The White House, Washington, D.C. [Creative Commons license by dcjohn]Enlarge Photo
it appears the recently-unveiled White House budget includes a few measures to boost the adoption of green cars.
President Barack Obama is once again attempting to spur sales of electric cars and alternative-fuel vehicles through increased incentives.
That includes a White House proposal to raise the current Federal tax credit for electric cars, and expanding it to other types of green vehicles, according to The Detroit News.
The Federal government currently offers a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500 to buyers of new plug-in cars (both battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids), but the proposed budget would see the top level raised to $10,000.
2014 BMW i3 electric cars waiting at East Coast shipping port for distribution, May 2014Enlarge Photo
It would also convert the tax credit to a purchase rebate--something Obama has tried to do before.
This could potentially have a greater impact because a discount would be applied at the time of purchase.
Currently, buyers have to wait until tax time to apply their rebates--and then only after completing the necessary paperwork.
In addition, not every potential buyer may have enough income to use the maximum $7,500 tax credit, whereas a rebate could be applied equally regardless of income.
The Obama Administration also reportedly wants to apply this incentive to other low-emission vehicles--including cars and trucks powered by natural gas.
So far though, proposals to change the tax credit have gone nowhere.
2015 Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel Natural GasEnlarge Photo
Obama has proposed increasing the tax credit and converting it to a point-of-sale rebate at least twice before, with no success.
These efforts were part of a larger plan--announced during the 2011 State of the Union address--of putting 1 million plug-in electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015.
The U.S. won't meet that goal in 2015, but will likely do so within a few years if the current momentum of electric-car adoption continues.
A more robust Federal incentive program would clearly help
But given the history of these proposals and the priorities of the current Republican-controlled Congress, it wouldn't be wise to count on any changes.