McClaughry: Electric vehicle incentives

By John McClaughry

The push is on again for converting your transportation to electric vehicles. Leigh Seddon, chairman of the Energy Action Network, said two weeks ago “We need to have a 24 percent reduction in fossil fuel use between now and 2025.” The state’s comprehensive energy plan has a target of 40,000 electric vehicles by 2025, a significant increase from around 2,000 today.

John McClaughry

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

He said that tax incentives were offered on a certain number of vehicle sales from automakers, and once the limit is reached, the incentive expires, and the state may have to put up funding.

“There really needs to be a state policy that can help pick up that incentive,” Seddon said. “One of the policy pitches was a fee-based schedule that [incentivizes] efficient cars like electric vehicles and puts a tax on inefficient cars.”

Well, there they go again. Let’s put a tax on gasoline and diesel fueled cars and trucks — like the one you’re probably driving — and heap another handout on electric vehicles, which aren’t paying squat toward maintaining our highways and bridges, and are even sucking up taxpayer financed electricity at state-financed recharging stations.

And if we go from 2,000 electric vehicles today to 40,000, that’s going to take a good bit more grid power, unless the vehicle owners have their own wind and solar chargers hooked up to their car batteries.

Nothing against electric vehicles, but I can’t see making everyone else pay for them.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR and John McClaughry

4 thoughts on “McClaughry: Electric vehicle incentives

  1. Senator Bray of Vermont does not get it. He announced he wants to eliminate the sales tax on the first $30,000 cost of buying an EV. He wants to SHIFT the burden of sales taxes from a few upscale-income buyers of electric vehicles onto all other taxpayers. That means upscale-income people benefit at the expense of others.

    This means 1) an $1800 saving for the upscale-income buyers, 2) the state having less revenue and 3) the state having bigger CHRONIC deficits, and 4) other taxpayers paying more. There is no free lunch, except in LaLaLand.

    Legislators like Bray have been giving away the store to please RE constituents for at least a decade.
    Did Vermont’s annual CO2 decrease due to all these RE giveaways these last 10 years? No!
    Throw more money at it? Oh yes, says Bray and other legislators.
    All the hyping about reducing CO2 to save the world was just to bamboozle the long-suffering Vermonters.

    Legislators sponsoring carbon taxes likely have near-zero experience designing energy systems and the economic impacts of their mandates. About 25 Democrat legislators just get on the carbon tax bandwagon with their Essex Plan and rah-rah along.

    – Legislators and Vermonters have no idea how much has been given away in terms of tax credits, subsidies, accelerated write offs, surcharges and fees by various energy bills and mandates over the years.
    – No rational central accounting exists. The numbers are all spread over the place, likely on purpose.
    – Almost nothing it properly vetted and exposed to the public.
    – The state auditor likely knows about some of it, but apparently ignores it.

    The RE shenanigan factor is much bigger than the $200 million EB-5 fraud (the largest ever in the US), and $200 million healthcare website fiascos.

    When recurring revenue gaps occur, legislators and bureaucrats pretend to have not a clue as to how that came about.

    A unilateral carbon tax, $240 to $300 million PER YEAR, would further aggrandize state government, would raise the ante of foolish spending by about a factor of 3 – 4, and increase social discord.

  2. The all-knowing state bureaucrats, working together with self-styled transportation gurus, and RE activists, want to force people to drive electric vehicles.

    The same folks pushing for a unilateral carbon tax also are pushing for plug-in vehicles, including light duty vehicles, LDVs, buses and trucks. Never mind the plug-in buses and trucks are still in their infancy. Vermont, with chronic budget deficits, must have money to burn on various follies.

    Market Penetration: Here are some facts on plug-ins (EVs and plug-in hybrids)

    US: The number of plug-ins on US roads has increased during the past 6 years.
    Plug-in sales are expected to be about 1.2% of all LDV sales in 2017.

    Vermont: In Vermont, the number of plug-ins increased from 88 in July 2012 to 1522 in January 2017. Pure EVs totaled
    330, or about 330/1522 = 22% of all plug-ins.

    The plug-in increase was about 1522 – 1113 = 409 from Jan. 2016 to Jan. 2017. New vehicle registrations were 41000. That represented about 409/41000 = 1.0% of all new vehicle registrations. The Comprehensive Energy Plan goal is 4700 new plug-in registrations in 2025. See page 164 of CEP.

    People favor hybrids over EVs, because EVs just do not have the range and are terrible performers under Vermont winter conditions. See below.

    In Vermont, the two vehicles shown in the table totaled about 48%, of all plug-in hybrids. The Chevy-Bolt, a pure EV (not a hybrid), was added to the table, because it was the second-best selling EV in the US in 2017.

    Most popular in Vermont Battery Plug-in hybrid mileage
    Toyota Prius Prime 8.8 kWh 25 miles electric; 55 city/53 hwy/54 combined hybrid
    Ford C-Max Energi 7.6 kWh 19 miles electric; 42 city/38 hwy/40 combined hybrid
    Chevy-Bolt EV 60.0 kWh 238 miles electric, city 255 miles, hwy 217 miles

    Vermont’s 22 fast-charging and 88 slow-charging stations are predominantly clustered in and near three towns: Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland. The RE activists in these towns would like to have:

    – More charging stations, located mostly in and near their towns, and have 1) other Vermonters, 2) carbon taxes, and 3) Volkswagen “diesel-gate” settlement money to pay for them.
    – The charging electricity to be tax-free, low-cost, or for free

    Cost shifting and subsidies are the name of the game to “improve” the payback of plug-ins.

    I removed the URLs, as otherwise my comment would not be posted.

  3. “reduction in fossil fuel use” How much fossil fuel is burned generating the power to charge the electric vehicles? Given that the U.S. is getting ever closer to being a net exporter of fossil fuels and estimates are that we have hundreds of years in reserve, what’s the point in reducing fossil fuel use? Count on technology to replace it in a couple hundred years, anyway. We were still burning wood in steam locomotives a century and a half ago – and there were horses for local transportation, not cars.

  4. The old method of making the “new, improved gizmo” feasible as found in the Progressive manual always falls back on the very worn ” Let you and him pay for it.” Never mind that whatever Rube Goldberg item is presented, it will turn into a financial boondoggle.

    Want proof? Look at the State of Vermont. It is broke, doesn’t work and you’re paying for it.

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