Georgia To Kill $5,000 Electric Car Credit, Will Impose $200 Annual Road-Use Fee On EVs

3 years ago by Michael Beinenson 81

Over a month ago, this flyer was circulated throughout Georgia in an effort to counter the passage of HB 170

Over a month ago, this flyer was circulated throughout Georgia in an effort to counter the passage of HB 170

In the very last moments of Georgia Legislative session, both the House and the Senate have passed HB 170 and it is now heading to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

Georgia was looking to fund a budget deficit in transportation spending and a great way to do that is to kill the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Credit. Georgians have really enjoyed the best tax credit in the country of $5,000 since 1997, however the real impact began with the introduction of US-built Nissan LEAF. (Yes Colorado has a $6,000 credit, but it does not apply to leases). With the help of the credit, Georgia quickly became the fastest growing electric car market in the nation. Everyone knew that the $5,000 was very generous and during this session another bill was introduced to reduce the amount/expand the credit to PHEVs and sunset it by 2019. That bill was never passed and the transportation bill took over as ZEV Credit Killer.

If the loss of the credit is not enough, Georgia enacted a new annual EV ‘license fee’ that will require EV drivers to pay $200 annual road use fee. No one argues about paying a fee, but at $200 that is equivalent to driving a large SUV

Source: My AJC

Source: My AJC

Some EV drivers in Georgia have pledged to fight the $200 fee in court once the bill is signed but the loss of ZEV credit will impact EV sales for the foreseeable future.

** Note: Huge thanks goes out to Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition and to the following:

  • BMW Group
  • Clean Cities Georgia
  • EV Club of the South
  • Fiat Chrysler
  • Ford Motor Company
  • General Motors (GM)
  • Honda North America, Inc.
  • Mothers and Others for Clean Air
  • Nissan North America
  • Plug-In Georgia
  • Securing America’s Future Energy
  • Southeastern Alliance for Clean Energy
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Sierra Club
  • And countless Georgia EV drivers who supported the effort to preserve and enchance the Georgia Electric Vehicle Credit

Editor’s Note: Also check out this local report by Abbey Jessen on some of the efforts (and hurdles) on the ground that EV proponents have been facing, as well as comments by Rep Chuck Martin – HB 122 sponsor (part of HB 170) who isn’t convinced EVs have much environmental benefit

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81 responses to "Georgia To Kill $5,000 Electric Car Credit, Will Impose $200 Annual Road-Use Fee On EVs"

  1. ggpa says:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    I think EVs are now at step 3

    1. Chris says:

      Dead On

      1. GSP says:

        Agreed.

        GSP

  2. David Murray says:

    That’s too bad. I think it will definitely affect the overall nationwide EV scorecard.

    1. Chris says:

      It will certainly affect Leaf sales.

      1. Londo Bell says:

        It will affect all EV sales. Remember that VW, Kia, and even BMW are expanding their sales nationwide.

        This is super bad.

        The least it’s going to be affected is Nissan, because it has benefitted from the credit for a while already.

    2. Nix says:

      What will really hurt the national sales numbers is when the US Congress does the same to the national $7,500 tax incentive on Oct. 1st of this year.

      This isn’t just a fluke that Georgia did this. This is part of an organized assault against all green incentives in all states and on the federal level.

      It’s all going away guys. Get those incentives while you can, and hope that the IRS honors the $7,500 tax credit for purchases after Dec 31st 2014. The Congress has the power to retroactively kill those tax incentives for taxes filed in 2016 for tax year 2015.

      1. Unplugged says:

        The U.S. Congress can do as it likes with a tax credit that is already in place. But the President would have to sign such a bill dissolving the tax credit. Fortunately, this President has no intention of signing such a bill.

        1. Nix says:

          Unplugged — It doesn’t have to be in a separate bill that Obama can cleanly veto. They can stick in it the FY2016 Budget and force Obama to make a package deal.

          Just go back 3 months ago and look at what the congress did with the CROmnibus funding bill. They tried to cram it full of nasty stuff. Same with the funding bill for Homeland Security, where the Congress tried to block the President’s executive orders on immigration.

          This is how they are going to do it, they will put everything into funding bills, and jam it through. Small stuff like green car funding is going to get sacrificed to keeping the ACA funded, etc.

      2. Kent Taylor says:

        Got three EV’s. I’m good. If Indiana imposes a road use tax, they’ll have to lift all the tax we pay on electricity, which is more then the road use tax would be.

  3. Taser54 says:

    Look for Nissan to take a substantial hit.

    1. jon says:

      Nissan has said it is prepared for when incentives end, this will only be a short term problem

    2. Londo Bell says:

      @Taser54,

      The hit will occur, but there will definitely be a huge increase in LEAFs sales for the next few months (before the credit ends).

      But you have to expand you view. Other auto manufacturers are starting their EV nationwide roll out, and it’s unlikely they can be done prior to July. This will significantly affect their EV sales target in US, which most likely will result in reduction in EV productions, and any other EV product expansion plans. Mind you, these EVs are already selling at a significantly loss right now to the manufacturers (BMW, Kia, Fiat, etc.) since they are still early in the production lives (so investment no where close to being recouped).

      The states that have significant EV sales are also the ones that continue to have EV rebate programs. Those without – almost 0.

      What a step backward in the deployment of EV in US.

  4. Chris says:

    It is a bummer. No one likes to pay more taxes, but I don’t think the cost differential is as large as it appears.

    AJC’s graph is, for some reason, using 24 cents vs the 26 cents that the bill stipulates be levied on gas. Plus, we still don’t have to pay the 18.4 cent federal gas tax. Nor do we have to pay for emissions testing.

    I mean, it will be more than most gas vehicles, but not grossly more.

    Just trying to look on the bright side.

    1. Mint says:

      26 cents per gallon * 350 gallons/yr used by a 35mpg car equals $91.

      That’s a pretty big cost differential from $200.

      1. Chris says:

        I guess you are just going to ignore federal taxes and emissions testing.

        1. Nix says:

          Georgia isn’t passing any of that $200 on to the Federal Gov’t. Why should the federal tax be counted?

          1. Chris says:

            …because a majority of Georgia’s road funding comes from federal gas tax revenue… Which the Leaf does not pay and gas vehicles do…SMH

            1. Nix says:

              Except that Georgia gets that money anyways, whether they collect this or not. They are double-dipping. You do understand that the gas tax doesn’t pay for the entire highway tax spending, right? So the rest gets funded by our taxes, which we all pay.

              1. Chris says:

                GDOT Funding Sources in 2014
                GA gas taxes: 44%
                Federal Highway Trust: 51%

                Considering the Federal Highway Trust is fully funded by fuel taxes, that means only 5% of GDOT funding come from non fuel tax sources…. So it seems like a pretty unfair comparison to not include the federal taxes that gas vehicles pay when comparing to the taxes that EVs now must pay.

                If there is an imbalance, so be it, but don’t exclude relevant information just to strengthen your argument.

        2. Speculawyer says:

          And why should there be emissions testing if there is no emissions!

          Look, I’m more than willing to eliminate ALL incentives if ICE vehicles capture and properly sequester ALL of their emissions.

          1. Chris says:

            Because it is a reccuring fee that gas vehicles pay and electric cars don’t.

            I am not trying to address how EVs will save us from Global Warming, I’m just trying to address this notion that EVs have suddenly become burdened with outrageous fees that have made the uneconomical to own.

    2. Antonio S. says:

      Trying to look on the bright side?
      More like burying your head in the sand.
      $200 at 26 cents a gallon gives you 769 miles.
      In order to run 12,000 miles on 769 gallons of gas, you need a car that consumes 15.6 mpg.
      Most full-size, non-hybrid SUVs will pay less than $200 a year for 12,000 miles driven.
      Fortunately math can be more precise than “I don’t think.”
      You’re right, you don’t think.

      1. Chris says:

        Sheesh, some of you guys are so full of bile and hatred. Evs will win the day regardless. Don’t be sore winners.

  5. Spec9 says:

    $200? They have gone from helping EVs to PUNISHING them. That’s crazy. I wonder if an equal protection suit can be filed.

    1. Scramjett says:

      30 years ago I would have said yes. However, these days, most legal terms such as equal protection have been twisted into a form of corporate protectionism. I would expect that any equal protection suit would probably die before it gained any real traction, probably at the appellate court level.

      We shall see. Some attorney’s have gotten really clever at dodging these ridiculous word twists, or, in some cases, even untwisting them.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      $200 every year, no less. Sometimes these fees cover two. I agree, it’s punitive.

      Why does green legislation sunset, or phase out, while things like MLP tax treatment (Nat gas vs wind/solar) and tax/fees, like this, end up permanent?

    3. Nix says:

      This isn’t by mistake. This is the same as the monthly charges for attaching Solar Panels to the Grid that is in legislation in many states now.

      The goal is to ruin the financial benefit of green technology. This is all stuff that comes straight from ALEC conferences.

      1. V. Bowman says:

        +1. While it may sound like gloom and doom it is in fact reality…albeit a very sad one.

    4. mike w says:

      kinda looks like they are trying to get some of their tax rebate money back. We pay $60 in Virginia for EVs. seems fair. $200 sounds high.

    5. jelloslug says:

      If $200 is fair for EV drivers then why not just eliminate the gas tax and charge everyone $200?

  6. Resident skeptic says:

    The Koch brothers must have paid off the entire legislature

    1. Scramjett says:

      They don’t need to pay off the entire legislature, just the party leadership who will then push the rest into voting for the bill (see it here with other special interests in California quite often).

      In this particular case, I wonder if this is one of those “model legislation” deals from ALEC?

      1. Alonso Perez says:

        Almost certainly.

      2. pjwood1 says:

        ALEC lost BP last week. That was big news. Their reputation gets lots of flack (well earned). Now, even oil co’s are getting more careful about lawyers they run to, to write rules for them.

    2. Taser54 says:

      Tinfoil hat alert. ^^^

      1. Alonso Perez says:

        Hardly. Their efforts are well documented and ever since Citizens United they can throw around a ton of cash unhindered.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        He’s clearly exaggerating in that they have not paid off ALL of the legislature. But the fact that they donate huge amounts of money to particular politicians who then push their agenda is quite well publically documented.

      3. Nix says:

        Hardly tin-foil at all. ALEC is very well known for being against green energy.

        Here is their plan to go after solar panels by trying to charge Solar Panel owners for transmission and blocking net metering:

        http://www.alec.org/publications/net-metering-reform/

        1. Speculawyer says:

          Ugh. Their net-metering attacks make me so mad. People tried to get a feed-in tariff for the USA to encourage solar like Germany had. But they fought hard against that so instead we go the lesser net-metering system which they accepted assuming that Solar PV never could compete.

          Now solar PV competes great with the grid so they want to get rid of it. What anti-competitive monopolist a-holes.

          1. Ocean Railroader says:

            I can’t wait for home storage battery systems to come out later this year to get rid of this crap once and for all. What we could do to get around these clowns is set up our own micro home grids inside of our homes linked to our batteries and solar panels. That way we can have power flow in form the grid when we need it. But keep our solar electricity for our selves by using our batteries.

    3. Mint says:

      Koch brothers make money from EVs. They charge at night, when electricity plants are mostly idling and not using much of Koch’s natural gas.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        But that is not nearly as lucrative as selling oil. And those natural gas plants can be eliminated by installing more solar PV, onshore wind, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, offshore wind, etc. to charge the EVs. A gas car is always a gas car for its entire life.

        1. Big Solar says:

          plus they dont mind trying to make money at both ends of any candle from what I can tell.

  7. Rick says:

    Everybody knows government incentive programs end. It’s time for EVs to sink or swim in the marketplace.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Absolutely not. We have climate change happening. Gas cars put out local pollution. The massive amounts of pollution from oil is a MASSIVE subsidy that gas cars have, EV incentives should always exist to some degree to level out the playing field with a competitor product that is allowed to pollute freely.

    2. Greg says:

      How can you even say that. The playing field is anything but level. We still need the incentives to help balance the field. The oil and automotive industry is worth billions while the EV market is a dismal fraction of that. How can the EV stand up to that kind of opposition without a bit of help.

    3. John in AA says:

      The bigger news here is the $200 punitive tax, not the incentive phase-out.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        The $200 dollar a year tax is the real gunshot wound to the chest for the EV’s in Georgia.

        As for Virginia I oddly feel that the EV’s are starting to gain ground in that we only have a $60 a year tax. But even with this it keeps EV’s off of the radar of the fossil fuel driven state government.

        As for the $60 a year tax we could still get rid of it in that we now collect most of our road funds from the state sales tax now and not the gas tax in that we phased out a large chunk of the gas tax last year.

    4. offib says:

      All three above I agree with strongly. If I have anything to add, it’s that such incentives should not be dropped so suddenly, the car market is not as rapid as we think it is. Hybrids for example had on average a decade of incentives to create a strong market with enough time and advancements to take place to be sold without incentives. The likes of the Prius (which still, without choice, has to run on imported and unrenewable fuel) had a decade of support, EVs in GA only had roughly four years.

      That’s not enough, especially when accounting all of the secondary benefits (air quality, health, energy security) and future benefits (grid gets cleaner = EVs automatically get cleaner) that plug ins have in store. I agree that $5000 of overkill, so that’s why a CA-like $2500 rebate is suitable, but not a $200 fee!

      Also to mention that the $200 of tax is wildly out of proportion compared to the tax a common F150 would pay in a year for petrol! That’s careless to say it politely.

      Have a look at this since I’m not convinced that there was an honest decision from the representive who did this.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vfOQskccaw

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Hey offib,

        Adding your video find into the story…comments/interview with Sen Martin is quite good. Good stuff!

  8. Josh says:

    I am surprised to see Honda and Fiat are part of the coalition, neither sells EVs in Georgia.

    1. Londo Bell says:

      @Josh,

      Fiat has the 500e. Plus potentials for other products. Thus Fiat (Chrysler) has interest in the EV markets. It may sell those eventually in Georgia.

      Honda has the fuel cell thing going (plus the Accord plug-in). Mind you, that’s being categorized as electric vehicle too, I believe. It will have to sell “something” with zero emission here in the US because it’s not going to meet the emission standard without zero emission vehicle (which the current Accord plug-in helps a tiny little bit).

      Like I said, without this credit to boost sales of EVs (BEVs and, potentially, F.C.), significant and adverse changes can be in the pipeline for auto manufacturers…

    2. Speculawyer says:

      They both have many more plug-ins in their pipeline. Honda announced that several more plug-ins are on the way. Chrysler announced a plug-in mini-van.

  9. ffbj says:

    Unpleasant but not unexpected. I think the court challenge is a reasonable step as it is an inequitable arrangement.

  10. Greg says:

    What &^%$#*@! MORONS. I have no other words for them.

  11. GeorgeS says:

    You think this is bad.

    The new kiddies in the US congress will repeal the 7500$ tax credit for EV’s next.

    Then they will figure out a way to kill the proposed EPA mandate on a 30% reduction in power plant emissions.

    Also all the targets for increased MPG will be eliminated.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      They can’t kill it over Obama’s veto.

      1. Nix says:

        All they have to do is defund it in the FY2015 budget. They don’t have to overturn the law.

        That budget has to be signed into law by Oct 1 or the govt shuts down. I’m not sure how long Obama can keep vetoing budgets just to keep this tax incentive after the govt shuts down. I’m guessing zero times.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          Yeah . . . let them shut down the government again. Good luck with that.

          1. Nix says:

            Yea, not again, right? I wish it were that simple.

            This will be the first budget fight where they have a simple majority in the House and Senate, and they can force budget bills through the Budget Reconciliation process and evade/avoid the filibuster in the Senate.

            That changes the power structure, and means that they have a much better chance at being successful this try. And they will indeed try again. There will be war over this budget, and they’ve shown they have no problem shutting things down. Everything is in danger, and this time they have the votes to back up the threat on their side.

            Before they couldn’t get anything out of the Congress to even veto, so they got slammed. Now the Congress will actually get to the point where they actually send bills to the President for Veto. It isn’t the same as before.

            1. pjwood1 says:

              Pretty sure the R-Senate has already had a shot at this, and folded in 2015.

  12. Stephen says:

    $200 is rediculous

  13. EngravEER says:

    Good — but definitely not comforting — to know that the politicians in Georgia are just as stupid and corrupt as the ones we have in West Virginia.

  14. offib says:

    Just this video, just in case any of you would like to hear Rep. Chuck Martin’s (The HB122’s sponsor) reasoning for this, basically boiled down to how he personally doesn’t believe EVs should be incentivised. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vfOQskccaw

    This is what happens when bogus rumours (the tales of EVs only running on coal) run about and make their way to politics. Absolutely no thought about future preparation put into this at all.

    1. offib says:

      Whoa. I did not realise the link I sent to Jay was sent to Michael here. Well, I’ve just been sending the same link of the video embedded in this article twice! Isn’t that fantastic?

  15. suresh says:

    its painful enough to be driving a POS 70 mile range electric car, pay more to rent an apartment with garage option so that i can plug in, pay higher insurance because of the higher cost and now i have to pay $200 more to drive a car i average 7k miles a year. this only makes my resolve stronger. i have a 5k credit to fight for the cause 🙂

  16. Leptoquark says:

    Is the $200 number based on anything, or was it pulled out of thin air because it “felt good”?

    1. offib says:

      It’s like being taunted and spat at with a glob of flem in my opinion!

      $200 is quite a bit more the average truck would spend on federal and state fuel tax! Not to mention the tax already paid from electricity. So yeah, it wasn’t a very well calculated one.

  17. Scott says:

    Our “EV tax” is $50. (Colorado) That’s actually pretty reasonable. I’m fine with that number, but if it suddenly exceeded a 15-16 mpg vehicle’s annual average I’d “lawyer up.”

  18. Big Solar says:

    electric for a year on the leaf only costs 360 at 13k miles here. (approx)

  19. Bonaire says:

    An ev tax by vehicle weight may be a good choice. .03/pound or some such number. Heavier vehicles take more toll on roadways (just as bigger ICE use more gas paying more taxes).

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      In Carlisle Pennsylvania if you stand by Interstate 81 from a parking lot you will see that 70% of the machines on the road are big heavy 18 wheeler trucks lined up one after another.

      I don’t mind this but they have to stop treating us EV owners like were going to buckle the road in a Mitsubishi i-miev.

  20. Praveen says:

    I am not mad at the 5000 rebate being canceled though I think a phase out would have been a more equitable solution. Why go from one extreme to another? But the thing that I am pissed about is this $200 fee. Let’s not forget that we in GA have to pay that one time TATV in excess of 1000 bucks even for 2 year leases of EVs. We are paying Electricity taxes. So the state of GA is making plenty from EV owners who lease(and the vast majority in GA have been leasing) as it is if you ignore the 5000 rebate. So canceling the rebate should have been more than enough.

  21. Scott Franco says:

    I think this is a good test, it will show that the incentives make little difference in the net sales/leases. Government incentives just distort the market, look at the current situation where most Leaf owners just flip their car to a new lease because of the incentive. And used leafs just pile up unsold.

    The $200 a year thing on a single type of vehicle can’t possibly stand. Its too hard to prove that it is equitable to the gas you do or do not use.

    For the net neutrality argument (geez you guys stuff a lot of topics into one place), ending net neutrality will be the stupidest thing the power companies do, and will come back to haunt them. It will create huge incentives to install “off grid” systems and convert existing systems to off grid (easily done).

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      What’s dangerous for the power companies is now you are having solar systems that are already paid off in a lot of cases. Or you have people at the same time buying existing houses with solar systems on them. To add to the power company’s nightmares is I once saw lithium home battery system for $2200 dollars that can supply a small home’s power needs over night.

  22. Mark Nelson says:

    The Colorado EV tax credit does apply to leases. But it is based the total of the lease payments so it is unlikely to be $6,000 on anything cheaper than a Tesla. The formula is (total lease payments) * (battery capacity in kWh) / 100, capped at $6,000. For purchases the formula uses base MSRP as the first term.

    1. Nix says:

      Yes, Colorado gives a tax incentive for leases, but even after reading the instructions and going over the worksheets, I’m still not sure exactly how much it would be worth for something like a Volt or a BMW i3 REX. I don’t know how anybody could put a number on this without actually having a completed lease agreement already in front of them:

      Worksheet 1.7 – EV and PHEV lease value
      1. Total of payments _____
      2. Any security deposit included in the total of payments ____
      3. The rent charge included in the total of payments _____
      4. Any sales tax included in the total of payments _____
      5. Any titling and registration fees included in the total of payments _____
      6. Any disposition fee included in the total of payments ____
      7. Any administrative fee included in the total of payments _____
      8. Any other fee included in the total of payments that does not reflect the value of the motor vehicle ____
      9. Total of lines 2 through 9 _____
      10. Leased value, line 1 minus line 9

      You take this Leased value from line 10, and use it for line 1 in this worksheet:

      Worksheet 1.6 – EV and PHEV credit calculation
      1. MSRP (see below for used and leased vehicles) ____
      2. Any available federal credit (see http://www.irs.gov) _____
      3. Any other grants, credits, or rebates available ____
      4. Line 2 plus line 3 _____
      5. Line 1 minus line 4 _____
      6. Vehicle battery capacity in kWh _____
      7. Line 6 divided by 100 ______
      8. Line 5 multiplied by line 7 ______
      9. Factor from Table 1.6 below ______
      10. Line 8 multiplied by line 9 ______
      11. Maximum credit ___$6,000___
      12. Allowable credit, smaller of lines 10 and 11 ______

      Table 1.6 – Factor to enter on line 9 above
      If purchased in tax year…
      2013-2018 2019 2020 2021
      … enter this factor online 9 above.
      1.00 0.75 0.50 0.

      1. V. Bowman says:

        Oooohhh…what fun…an afternoon with my 1040 long form and I’ll invite schedules B,C, and D while I’m at it. Ugh!

  23. Pablo says:

    Could somebody provide official data about the portion of tax per gallon of gasoline specifically assigned for the roads in Georgia? For now I can assume $0.265 per gallon.

    200$/$0.265 per gallon=781.25 gallons an eclectic car should be saving per year,compared to comparable non-electric gasoline car.
    A comparable non-electric car would be Honda Civic ~30 miles per gallon.
    To save 1000 gallon per year the electric car should drive
    30MPG*781.25 Gall. = 23,437.5 miles ~23,500 miles.

    1. It follows that a car in Georgia drives in average 23,500 miles per year or the 200$/year is for the purpose of punishing the people who invest more in their own car to keep the air cleaner for everybody around.

    2. Given the driving range per charge of a Nissan Leaf (120 miles the best results and 70 miles when cold) how it is physically possible to drive 23500 miles per year in a normal life situation (not an experiment)?

    3. Only people with short commute drive electric, exceptions possible.

    4. Last, but not least – we forgot that the electricity for the 23500 miles already comes with taxes. If I take the data for Leaf 4 miles/kWh at warm weather, it would need 5,560 kWh. Now add the taxes for the state on 5600 kWh to the $200!

    I measured in cold weather that after driving 20 miles I need to take 10 kWh from the outlet on the wall to restore to 100% charged. The car gives me 3 miles/kWh from the power that is already in the battery as measured by the computer of the car (2 miles/kWh in cold weather if the losses during charging are included, 3 miles/kWh if not included).

  24. Christine says:

    I am really angry about this. My car, a hybrid was never eligible for a tax credit. Now I have to pay $200 a year for a car that gets driven less than 9k miles annually and is mainly GAS powered? This is outrageous. Selling the EV and buying gas vehicle. State of Georgia and Fulton County are worst govt’s in the country. Can’t wait for kids to graduate so I can leave this inept incompetent and corrupt place!