Tesla, General Motors and other automakers are pushing Washington for tax extenders that would extend the federal incentive for electric vehicle purchases.
Talks in the U.S. Congress over the weekend focused on the reinstatement of tax extenders that will not only benefit electric car manufacturers but those involved in biofuel and short-line railroad industries. If the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act gets the thumbs up, the cap for EV sales for manufacturers will be raised to 600,000 from 200,000 units and also reduce the tax credit from $7,500 to $7,000.
There will also be tax credits for the purchase of used electric vehicles with certain limitations such as the vehicle was used and registered in the U.S., will be sold for less than $25,000, tax credit can’t exceed 30 percent of the selling price, among others.
“Thanks to bipartisan, broad-based support, we believe the EV tax-credit extension is very well-positioned for enactment. “A large and diverse set of stakeholders — including environmentalists, public health groups, automakers and utilities — are urging Congress to act given its consequences for American global competitiveness, clean air and climate change,” said Mike Carr of the EV Drive Coalition that consists of Tesla, GM, and other electric vehicles and equipment giants.
The current tax credit is phased out when a manufacturer such as Tesla hits 200,000 vehicle sales, a cap already reached by Tesla and GM in Q3 2018 and Q4 2018, respectively. This means that those who will buy Tesla electric vehicles starting January 1, 2020 are no longer eligible for tax credits. Under the current rules, Tesla vehicles delivered on or before Dec. 31, 2018 enjoyed $7,500 federal tax credit while those delivered between Jan. 1 to June 30 this year received incentives reduced by half. Those who got their Teslas July 1 through the end of this year only received $1,875 tax credits.
Originally, the tax credit for electric vehicles was enacted by Congress in 2008 to give the EV market a boost. The tax credit is a big factor in the purchase decision of car buyers when considering electric vehicles. Aside from benefiting consumers directly by making electric vehicles — such as the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck — more affordable, a proper reform levels the playing field for vehicle manufacturers while giving consumers more options to choose from.
The GREEN Act discussion draft was initiated in November by House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Chairman Mike Thompson and Committee Democrats.
“This bill will build on existing tax incentives that promote renewable energy and increase efficiency and create new models for technology and activity to reduce our carbon footprint. I’ve long said that if we don’t address climate change, nothing else matters as we won’t have a planet to pass on to our next generation. The GREEN Act is a critical step forward in our fight to tackle climate change head on,” Chairman Thompson said.
Of course, the lobbying of Tesla and other EV manufacturers does not go unopposed. In June, a trade association representing fuel and petrochemical manufacturers and refiners met with members of Congress to insist on how tax breaks may cost the government as much as $15.7 billion over 10 years. Meanwhile, proponents and supporters of the GREEN Act that would provide tax extenders emphasized the benefits of more electric vehicles on the road in terms of sustainability, how the industry creates American jobs, and how it helps the U.S. ensure energy independence and security.
As 2019 draws to a close, Tesla adjusted the price of the Model 3 and also sent out an email to encourage consumers to place their orders to still be eligible for the federal tax credit.