Georgia Electric-Car Fee Cut From $200 To $75 By Proposed Bill

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Georgia license plate

Georgia license plate

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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 Leaf

2015 Nissan Leaf

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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.

ALSO SEE: Insult To Injury? GA Kills Electric-Car Incentive, Adds Last-Minute Luxury-Car Tax Break (Apr 2015)

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)

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

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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.

CHECK OUT: When Electric-Car Incentives Return: British Columbia Case Study

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.

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