A First for Georgia: Electric Vehicle Day

This blog was written by Anne Blair, former Director of the Clean Fuels Program at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | February 1, 2018 | Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles

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Last week, we celebrated the first-ever Capitol Electric Vehicle Day at the Georgia Legislature.  

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, including Representatives Allen Peake, Don Parsons, Scott Holcomb, Ron Stephens, and Todd Jones, introduced the resolution during morning orders citing the benefits of electric vehicles (EV) to Georgia’s economy and environment.

Excited EV drivers and supporters spent the day meeting with their state legislators, sharing their experiences with EVs, and expressing their support for electric vehicle incentives and a reduction of the punitive EV user fee that all EV drivers are required to pay. EV Day culminated with a press conference on the many benefits of EVs and  highlighted HB 98, the proposed new “EV Tax Credit” bill. Speakers at the event included Representative Allen Peake, Green4U Technologies CEO and co-founder Don Panoz, Director of Energy Programs, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Alan Shedd and the City of Atlanta’s Office of Resilience Director and Co-Director, Stephanie Stuckey and Ruthie Norton.

So, what’s in the new EV tax credit bill?

The proposed EV tax credit would allow for a credit of $2,500 per vehicle and may be taken only once by a taxpayer. Eligible vehicles would include both all-electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles that are $60,000 or less, expanding the options for consumers. The proposed EV tax credit would also apply to leases as well as purchased vehicles to ensure access for more Georgians.  Finally, unlike the the previous EV tax credit, the credit would sunset in five years, in 2023, and be capped at $10 million annually.

Proposed EV Tax Credit Highlights:

  • $2,500 per vehicle
  • Eligible for vehicles under $60K
  • Available for sale and leased vehicles
  • Applies to all-electric battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • One per individual
  • Sunsets in 2023
  • Capped annually at $10 million

Incentives, like a tax credit, are proven to help drive EV adoption and expand the adoption rates of new technology in the marketplace. And, Georgia experienced this first-hand with the massive adoption experienced between 2011-2015 when the previous credit was in place.

Electric vehicles (EVs) make up just a small fraction of the light-duty cars on our roads today — of the nearly nine million cars registered in Georgia, just 21,000 are electric. Georgia has a long way to go to reach market penetration. There are also more than 25 plug in and battery electric vehicles now available in the Georgia market offering expanded consumer choices and benefits to all Georgians. As battery prices come down and Georgia utilities begin to develop supporting EV programs, support at the state level is needed to move the market from the early adopter stage to the mass adoption.

Benefits of EVs

Electric vehicles generate millions of dollars in additional economic benefits to the state. They also greatly reduce the $30 billion spent on oil imports into Georgia, significantly improving our national security. EVs are also cheaper to fuel than gas-powered vehicles, thanks to an EV’s performance efficiency and the lower cost of electricity. EVs keep money in Georgia as the money spent on electricity goes to power companies that employ Georgians, pay local taxes, and have a stake in the state economy. In contrast, a majority of the money drivers spend to fill up conventional vehicles pays for crude oil, which is extracted outside Georgia. Electricity prices are also far more stable than gasoline prices, allowing drivers to avoid the risk of future price spikes.

Unlike the previous efforts to revive EV-friendly legislation, there is a growing coalition of supporters – manufacturers, car and driver interest groups, auto business associations, environmental groups, realtors, faith-based groups, solar companies and more. New EV models are also coming out every month and manufacturer commitments to EVs are increasing, with all major manufacturers announcing goals to go electric in the next few years. Supportive EV policy stands to place Georgia at the forefront in the Southeast in attracting new businesses (think AMAZON!), where employment is demanding new technologies, transit options and a friendly atmosphere.

Georgia Leadership

According to transportation experts, the future of transportation has three components: electric drivetrains, shared mobility options and autonomous vehicles.  The choice is clear: Georgia has the opportunity to lead the southeast U.S. with plug-in EV policies or miss out on its share of the trillion dollar industry that is the future of transportation.

Let’s make Georgia a cleaner, more competitive place to thrive and drive and keep money here at home! To stay up to date on EV activities in Georgia and the SE, sign up here.

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