By Shaun Boyd
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The Trump administration has signaled it will cut subsidies for renewable energy including a $7,500 tax credit for electric cars. The move could hit Colorado hard.
The state has one of the fastest growing electric vehicle markets in the country and, just last year, Gov. Hickenlooper and the governors of seven other western states announced they would begin putting charging stations on major interstates.
Boulder’s Nigel Zeid is a pioneer in the industry. He began selling the Leaf when Nissan rolled it out eight years ago. While he speaks for himself not Nissan, he pushed back against opponents who say the tax credit is for the wealthy.
“We’ve sold over 400 last year. We’ve seen over 400 credit applications and I can tell you, no, most people are not earning over $140,000 a year.”
Zeid says he’s not opposed to eliminating the federal tax credit, eventually.
“It’s a little bit like having your kid in college and you say to him ‘I’m going to pay for you while you’re in college and after you’re out of college, you’re on your own.’ This is helping manufacturers to get the cars on the road at a reasonable price because it’s new technology… until we are on par with gasoline powered cars,” Zeid said. “These next 2-3 years are pivotal years. There’s so much research going into battery technology that’s driving the costs down. There are so many manufacturers that are interested in electric cars. All this is going to drive the price down.”
Gov.-elect Jared Polis agrees that it’s a matter of fairness.
“It would be great if we could eliminate the hundreds of billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies, and yes, you could eliminate the renewable and electric vehicle subsidies at the same time. But, if you’re going to keep those fossil fuel subsidies, you can’t just have them prop-up the old technology,” he said. “You’ve got to have something offsetting it to allow electric vehicles to compete and be affordable and cheaper for people to operate.”
The Trump administration’s threat to eliminate the electrical vehicle subsidy will almost certainly impact sales, but Zeid says, not how you might think.
“If this was to come about, then now is — without sounding like car salesman, and I am a car salesman, but without sounding like a car salesman — yes, now is the time to be doing it (buying an electric vehicle).”
The Trump administration has indicated it will eliminate the tax credit in the next year or two. It’s unclear if it has the authority to do so because the tax credit was created through legislation. If it’s up to Congress, it won’t happen. The state also offers a $5,000 electric vehicle tax rebate.