Tesla’s efforts to convince the US Congress to extend the tax credit for electric vehicles went down the drain as lawmakers declined to extend the country’s EV incentives.
The incentive for the purchase of electric vehicles helped boost the EV market in recent years and is seen as one major purchase factor among consumers considering to get a green car. Such tax credits make electric vehicles more affordable and essential in the overall growth of the electric car industry. For example, in 2018, purchases of electric vehicles jumped by as much as 81% since 2017 with 361,307 EVs including plug-in hybrids sold during the year.
According to lawmakers who support the popular expansion of tax credit for electric vehicles, President Donald Trump is to blame.
“There has been extreme resistance from the president. I don’t know why the White House would want to stop jobs and the future of the auto industry,” said Michigan Democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow.
The tax credit for EVs has always been criticized by Republicans who see the subsidies as welfare for the wealthy and only benefits car manufacturers such as Tesla. Likewise, there was the usual counter-lobbying from petrochemical producers and refiners.
Tesla, along with General Motors and other green car manufacturers, has been lobbying for the approval of the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act that will raise the cap of electric vehicle sales qualified for federal tax incentives from 200,000 units to 600,000 units. Both carmakers have hit their sales cap in 2018 and this means that those who will purchase Tesla vehicles starting January 1, 2020 are no longer qualified for tax credits. Without the federal tax credits, electric cars from these companies would have to compete in the auto market by their merits alone.
Under the existing rules, Tesla cars delivered on or before Dec. 31, 2018 received a $7,500 tax credit and this was later halved for deliveries made between Jan. 1 to June 30 this year. Those who purchased their Teslas July 1 through the end of 2019 qualify for $1,875 tax credits.
The EV Drive Coalition, which consists of car manufacturers such as Tesla and GM, has argued that the federal tax credit for electric vehicles directly benefit consumers.
“EV Incentives work to close that upfront cost gap and put Americans in EVs in greater numbers as the auto industry develops new cost-effective supply chains. Expanding the electric vehicle tax credit is not only critical in the fight against climate change, it also makes zero-emission vehicles accessible to more Americans, improves air quality, enhances our national security, and will grow an emerging industry that already supports nearly 300,000 American jobs,” EV Drive Coalition wrote.
Over the weekend, there were last-minute discussions about the possible extension of the federal tax credit for EVs as lawmakers tried to cram and pass a $1.4 trillion spending bill before government funds run out on Saturday. But unfortunately, efforts to extend the tax credit for EV purchases were unfruitful.
Aside from incentives for EV purchases, the GREEN Act was also seen as a bill that would help further promote renewable energy and help create technologies that will ultimately reduce the country’s carbon footprint.