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Welch Introduces Legislation to Accelerate Growing Adoption of Electric Vehicles

February 24, 2021
Press Release
Extension of electric vehicle tax credit will slash dangerous pollution driving climate crisis

WASHINGTON – Representative Peter Welch yesterday introduced the Electric Cars Act, bicameral legislation that would address America’s addiction to dangerous fossil fuels by fully extending the electric vehicle tax credit for 10 years, making the tax credit immediately available to buyers at the dealership and helping to deploy critical charging infrastructure.

Currently, a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is available for the purchase of electric vehicles—with federal statute capping the number of eligible vehicles at 200,000 per manufacturer. Several domestic manufactures have already hit the manufacturing cap and consumers seeking to buy those vehicles will no longer receive tax credits. As a result, the law currently creates incentives for electric car buyers to purchase imported vehicles rather than American-made ones.

“We need to quickly and aggressively invest in electric vehicles to combat the global climate emergency that threatens all of our local communities,” said Welch. “Owning an electric vehicle can be cheaper and offers significant public health and environmental benefits, but for many Americans they are unaffordable at the dealership. This bill makes the next generation of electric vehicles accessible to more people by allowing them to receive the electric vehicle tax credit right away. Encouraging electric vehicle adoption is a commonsense win for consumers, the environment, and American workers.”

“Representative Welch's Electric Cars Act has never been more important,” said Joe Britton, Executive Director of the Zero Emissions Transportation Association. “His strong support for expanding EV consumer incentives, paired with improved quality, cost and options for electric vehicles, is set to create a tipping point toward vehicle electrification and emissions-free transportation. This not only benefits consumers, but will help create hundreds of thousands of domestic manufacturing jobs and spur American innovation.”

The transportation sector is now the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States, and a significant source of carbon pollution worldwide. Countries across the globe have recognized this challenge and are aggressively investing in electric vehicle technologies in order to bolster fuel security, reduce pollution, and improve health outcomes. Nearly a dozen countries and dozens of cities have committed to phasing out internal combustion engines. The U.S., however, is at risk of falling behind on technology development and deployment of electric vehicles.

The electric vehicle (EV) tax credit has been instrumental in helping advance the American EV market and ensures that consumers have a greater range of options when selecting their next vehicle. Given global efforts to transition away from internal combustion engines, the U.S. should not hamstring the production and support of domestically manufactured electric vehicles.

The Electric Cars Act would improve this vital tax credit by:

  • Eliminating the per manufacturer cap, allowing consumers access to the tax credit for the next 10 years, regardless of the manufacturer from which they purchase their car;
  • Allowing buyers to use the tax credit over a 5-year period, or apply the credit on the spot at the dealership to reduce the price of the vehicle, making the credit more applicable to those without large tax liability; and
  • Providing a 10-year extension of tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles and charging infrastructure to incentivize the buildout of this important infrastructure around the country.

Full text of the legislation is available here. Welch recently had a national op-ed published in The Hill on urgent need for this legislation. Vermont has seen charging infrastructure for electric vehicles increase rapidly, with nearly every Vermonter within 30 minutes of a fast-charge station.