It only took a month for electric car sales to drop 90 percent after a 15 year old tax credit for electric car buyers expired in Georgia.
The $5,000 subsidy for electric vehicles expired last June and has gutted the electric sector, reducing popular green models like the Chevy Volt to single digit sales across the entire state, reported Watchdog.org. The subsidy is under fire for being a 15-year-long giveaway, rather than a worthwhile incentive.
“I thought the credit turned from an incentive into a virtual entitlement,” Georgia Republican state Rep. Chuck Martin told Watchdog.org.
The Nissan Leaf was hit hardest, dropping from 1,008 sales in June to just 66 in August. Overall, only 148 electric cars were purchased in August, down from 1,338 in June. Watchdog.org reports that the $5,000 tax credit was on top of the $7,500 federal credit given for purchasing electric vehicles, making buying one of these cars in Georgia extremely cheap.
“It was never really free, but it was very inexpensive,” Don Francis, coordinator of Clean Cities Georgia Coalition, told Watchdog.org.
Electric vehicle sales have generally struggled across the auto industry, as the technological expense and high cost to consumers don’t encourage purchasing. Quebec announced Monday a proposed $420 million spending program aimed at boosting their currently stagnant electric car market.
In Georgia’s next legislative session, Democratic lawmakers plan on trying to bring the subsidy back on the grounds it benefited the state environment and helped middle-income families.
Critics are unimpressed, arguing the government should never be involved in this kind of central planning.
“That’s social engineering,” Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, told Watchdog.org. “A lot of Nissan Leafs are on the road (in Georgia) because of this subsidy. You should be able to justify the cost of electric cars and, obviously, with more cars coming on the market the price will come down. So why prop it up artificially on the backs of taxpayers?”