Electric vehicles (EVs) are crushing it in Georgia. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. EVs cost less to fuel, are fun to drive, and can greatly reduce your environmental footprint – especially when paired with sources of renewable energy like solar or wind power.
Thanks to a $5,000 state tax credit that can be taken in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs, the Peach State has had the second-most registered EVs in the country (after California), and Atlanta has surpassed Seattle to claim the second-highest percentage of EV registrations among major U.S. metropolitan areas.
Yet, despite this growth EVs comprised less than 2 percent of total vehicle sales in Georgia in the first half of 2014. Continued policy support is therefore needed to help the EV market in Georgia expand into the potential 42 percent of households that could use one today. But the policy platform that has helped EVs take hold in Georgia is under attack. A bill was recently introduced in the Georgia House that would eliminate the $5,000 state tax credit as of July 1, 2015. Similar efforts have failed in previous years, but opponents are taking another at bat in the current legislative session.
Fear not, EV supporters! UCS is on the case. We’re supporting a different bill (HB 220) that would provide a tax credit for both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt or Ford C-Max Energi and battery electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF. The credit would phase out over the next 5 years, allowing legislators to reevaluate the state of the EV market down the line and determine what level of additional policy support is needed.
To help smart EV policy stay on the books in Georgia, we recently released a fact sheet on the benefits EVs are providing for Georgia drivers. Our analysis found that the average driver of an EV in Georgia saved more than $850 on fuel compared to the driver of a gasoline-powered vehicle in 2014, and EVs saved Georgia as a whole more than $10 million on fuel in one year. Moreover, EVs avoided the burning of 4.5 million gallons of gasoline and reduced harmful climate change emissions by more than 22,000 tons last year in Georgia.
Check out more of our findings here – and be sure to share this analysis with your Georgia-based friends, family, and networks. Also, stay tuned to this blog space for an opportunity to weigh in with state lawmakers once an EV tax credit bill is up for a vote. With a couple clicks or, even better, phone calls, you can join UCS in helping Georgia continue to lead the way on electrifying transportation.