Georgia Electric-Car Sales Plummet After Incentive Replaced By Tax


Georgia state capitol (pic by Andre M. via Wikimedia)

Georgia state capitol (pic by Andre M. via Wikimedia)

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Electric-car buyers in Georgia have seen their prospects change dramatically over the past few months.

The Peach State previously had one of the most generous incentive programs for new electric-car purchases, offering up to $5,000 in income-tax credits to electric-car buyers.

But earlier this year, legislators killed that incentive program.

DON'T MISS: Insult To Injury? GA Kills Electric-Car Incentive, Adds Last-Minute Luxury-Car Tax Break

And seemingly adding insult to injury, they added a $200 annual registration fee for electric cars at the same time.

The effects of those two policy decisions are already apparent in Georgia's plummeting electric-car sales, according to a report from Watchdog.org (via Transport Evolved).

The tax credit expired July 1, and had an almost immediate impact on plug-in car sales, the report says.

National Drive Electric Week 2014: Atlanta. Photo by Michael Beinenson.

National Drive Electric Week 2014: Atlanta. Photo by Michael Beinenson.

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Between June and August, plug-in car sales in Georgia dropped almost 90 percent. (The precise figure is 88.9 percent.)

There were only 148 new plug-in cars registered in the state in August--against 1,338 in June.

Note that these figures include sales and registrations of both all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids, although the tax credit only applied to all-electric cars.

ALSO SEE: Bill To Kill Georgia's Electric-Car Tax Credit Rises From The Dead

The June figure was likely higher than usual as buyers scrambled to take advantage of the tax credit while they still could.

Hardest hit were three of the bestselling electric cars in the U.S.: the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3.

Nissan averaged 338 Leaf sales in the first four months of year, reaching a high of 1,029 units in May. But just 66 Leafs were sold in August.

Traffic in Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour (via Wikimedia)

Traffic in Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour (via Wikimedia)

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Similarly, the Model S averaged 65 cars over the first four months of 2015, but just 29 were sold in August.

BMW i3 sales fell from a four-month average of 42 cars month to 13 in August.

Opponents of the tax credit--enacted way back in 1998--claim it unfairly privileged electric-car buyers over other citizens, including drivers of other green cars like hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

And throughout the drawn-out legislative battle over the programs' fate, electric-car advocates claimed eliminating the tax credit would discourage adoption.

A new legislative session begins in January, and those advocates reportedly hope to get the tax credit reinstated--and perhaps extended to include plug-in hybrids.

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