For a couple of years, Georgia offered an example to the rest of the nation on how a seemingly unlikely state could boost electric-car sales.
Then it all came crashing down.
Last spring, opponents of the state's generous $5,000 income-tax credit for purchase of a zero-emission vehicle killed off the incentive, in effect since 1998.
DON'T MISS: Georgia Electric-Car Sales Plummet After Incentive Replaced By Tax (Nov 2015)
It was replaced by a $200 annual registration fee for electric cars--more than the state gasoline tax paid by a 25-mpg gasoline vehicle driven 15,000 miles a year.
(Legislators also simultaneously gave a tax break to Mercedes-Benz employees who lease cars from the company. Rather than requiring them to pay the state's standard car tax, the company itself--which had relocated its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta--would pay just an application fee and a small charge for specialized license plates.)
2015 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
Opponents of the tax credit had claimed it unfairly privileged electric-car buyers over other citizens, including drivers of other greener cars like hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
The tax credit expired July 1, and sales of plug-in cars (both battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids) plummeted almost 90 percent from June to August.
Metropolitan Atlanta no longer shows up in the top sales areas for the Tennessee-built Nissan Leaf electric car, nor are BMW i3 sales figures notable in the state.
But there may be some small consolation for the state's electric-car owners in a new bill introduced two weeks ago in the Georgia House.
Traffic in Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour (via Wikimedia)Enlarge Photo
That measure, House Bill 878, would reduce the annual registration fee for electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles from $200 a year to $75.
That's lower than the $165 in gasoline taxes that would be paid by the driver of that hypothetical 25-mpg vehicle driven 15,000 miles a year on state roads.
The bill would take effect on July 1, and apply to all payments due starting January 1, 2017.
The bill has not yet been voted on by the House; it must also be passed by the Georgia State Senate.
Electric-car advocates had reportedly hoped to get the state's zero-emission-vehicle tax credit reinstated, perhaps extending it to include plug-in hybrids as well.
Thus far, legislation to achieve that goal does not appear to have been introduced in the new legislative season that began last month.