Georgia to take second try at electric-car tax credit after killing first one

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

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

Several years ago, Georgia offered a generous state-tax credit for purchase of a zero-emission vehicle, and its sales of electric cars boomed.

When state politics interceded to kill that credit in 2015—and add a new tax specifically on those same vehicles—the state became a case study on what happens when such incentives are suddenly withdrawn.

Now, state politicians are taking a second crack at an incentive.

DON'T MISS: Georgia Kills Electric-Car Incentive, Adds Last-Minute Luxury-Car Tax Break (Apr 2015)

On Wednesday, state representatives Spencer Frye, Todd Jones, and Allen Peake announced the introduction of House Bill 98 for the 2018-2019 legislative session.

While the text of the bill apparently hasn't been posted to the Georgia Legislature's website, the bill would create a $2,500 credit for buyers of electric cars within the state, presumably starting sometime in 2019.

None of the three legislators mention the bill on their websites.

The state's previous income-tax credit for purchase of a battery-electric vehicle has been $5,000; the new figure corresponds to that offered in California, where roughly half the country's electric cars are sold today.

While that previous credit was in effect, Nissan frequently cited the greater Atlanta area as one of the top regions for sales of its Leaf electric car.

When the credit was ended as of July 1, 2015, however, sales of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars in Georgia plummeted to little more than one-tenth the June 2015 level.

CHECK OUT: Georgia Electric-Car Sales Plummet After Incentive Replaced By Tax (Nov 2015)

The earlier credit did not apply to plug-in hybrid vehicles.

As part of the highway-funding legislation that repealed the previous credit in 2015, Georgia also added a $200 registration fee that applied solely to battery-electric vehicles.

That amount was higher than the $165 in state gasoline taxes that a Georgia driver would pay for driving 15,000 miles per year in a 25-mpg vehicle (at $0.0275 per gallon) .

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

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

A 2016 bill to lower that fee to $75 did not pass, leaving the Peachtree State one of only two (along with Virginia) in which electric-car owners pay more in taxes for road use than owners of gasoline or diesel cars.

Several states have imposed taxes or surcharges on electric cars to compensate for the state gas-tax revenue they do not pay because they don't use gasoline at all.

Earlier in January, however, Virginia proposed its own electric-car tax rebate of up to $3,500; that measure has not yet been enacted into law.

Hat tip: Jeff Southern
 
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