The budget President Barack Obama proposed Feb. 13 would increase the tax credit for buyers of electric vehicles — from the $7,500 maximum to a $10,000 maximum — and expand the credit to other “advanced technology vehicles.”
Under the proposal, the tax credit would apply to vehicles that operate primarily using an alternative to gasoline, as long as that technology is not currently widespread in the U.S. The preliminary budget document, from the U.S. Treasury’s website, lacks details about the vehicles that would qualify. The amount of the tax credit would vary by the fuel efficiency of the vehicle but would be at least $7,500 for electric vehicles.
The proposal is part of Obama’s 4-year-old goal of putting one million advanced technology vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015, according to language buried in the budget document and first reported by the Daily Caller. The president is also requesting more money for staff to continue a loan program for advanced vehicle manufacturing,
The budget is for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 and is not expected to pass Congress. Republicans control the House and are attempting to take back the presidency from Obama in the November election. Still, the proposal shows Obama’s continued support for subsidizing electric vehicle purchases, despite the controversy surrounding the government’s recent investigation into the Chevrolet Volt and the car’s slower-than-expected sales.
Critics have said the administration is propping up the Volt because of its ownership stake in General Motors. Some have also suggested the tax credit is a tax break for the rich; GM has touted its well-off Volt buyers, since the automaker wants more buyers who will pay for technology. Still, the expansion of the tax credit could also make electric vehicles less expensive or include buyers of less-expensive technology.
The Obama administration will give clearer rules for the tax credit if it passes Congress, the budget document said. The tax credit would not have a cap on the number of eligible vehicles. Now it’s capped at 200,000 per manufacturer. It would have a four-year phase-out before its expiration in 2020.
Original Source: Detroit Free Press/Chrissie Thompson