Georgia license plateEnlarge Photo
It hasn't been a particularly good year so far for electric-car purchase incentives.
As feared by advocates, last week Georgia passed a highway-funding bill that killed its $5,000 income-tax credit for purchase of a battery-electric vehicles.
Illinois suspended its own rebates to close a gaping budgetary hole, and Texas may do the same.
DON'T MISS: IL Suspends Clean-Car Rebates; GA Tax Credit In Trouble Too; Texas Next? (Mar 27)
If you're a Georgia resident and you've been considering purchase of any zero-emission vehicle, you have less than three months to take advantage of your state's tax credit.
The Georgia tax credit will no longer be effective as of July 1st. State sales of electric cars will likely soar for April, May, and June, and decline thereafter.
The extent of the decline is unknown, although data from British Columbia--which let its incentives elapse and then restored them this year--may prove instructive.
Traffic in Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour (via Wikimedia)Enlarge Photo
Meanwhile, Georgia also added a $200 registration fee for battery-electric vehicles.
That's higher than the $165 in state gasoline taxes (at $0.0275 per gallon) that a Georgia driver in a 25-mpg vehicle would pay for driving 15,000 miles per year.
That makes the Peachtree State only the second among 50 (after Virginia) in which electric-car owners pay more in taxes for driving than do owners of gasoline and diesel cars.
And it gets worse.
According to an Associated Press story, the state also rushed through a hasty tax break for employees of Mercedes-Benz who lease cars from the company.
Rather than those employees having to pay the state's standard car tax, the company itself would pay only "a small application fee and a small charge for specialized license plates."
Gas pumpEnlarge Photo
The total cost of that tax break to Georgia will exceed $1 million, according to an analysis by the Fiscal Research Center of Georgia State University.
Mercedes-Benz North America is in the process of relocating its operations from New Jersey to Georgia.
The company says its goal is to be closer to its large SUV assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; industry observers suggest it will lose a majority of its current employees.
ALSO SEE: When Electric Car Incentives Expire: A Case Study In Canada (Sep 2014)
Not all current MBNA employees were invited to relocate; of those that were, some portion are likely to decline the offer.
But the tax break for driving cars registered to the company--possibly on manufacturer, or "MFR," plates--replicates one in New Jersey that relocating employees will have been used to.
Political commentators note that Georgia may be shuffling various tax incentives to allow it to contribute to the rehabilitation of a former General Motors assembly plant in Doraville that is to become film studios.
Georgia state capitol (pic by Andre M. via Wikimedia)Enlarge Photo
The Georgia tax break for Mercedes still has to be signed by Georgia governor Nathan Deal. According to the AP report, though, its legality may be question.
The tax break was passed four minutes after the legislature's midnight deadline, and it may also have violated a rule that lawmakers must have at least two hours to review any new legislation.
The electric-car tax credit, however, is conclusively dead--and plug-in car owners will start paying the $200 annual fee later this year.
[hat tip: Brian Henderson]