Feds Moving EV Tax Credits To "Cash For Clunkers" Model

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Speaking at Nissan’s Smyrna, TN electric car factory, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted that his staff is working with Congress to make federal tax credits for plug-in car purchases available as a rebate on the dealer level, saying

We’d like for people to get a $7,500 rebate on the day they buy the Leaf. We’re doing a lot of talking about it. When you give people that incentive to buy a battery-powered car, they’ll do it. We know these incentives help.

Speaking to Automotive News [sub], LaHood even went as far as to argue that the new direction for the tax credits, which were previously only claimable when filing taxes, would be successful for the reason that it would make the credits more like the Cash For Clunkers program. Apparently LaHood has completely forgotten how riddled with waste, inefficiency, fraud, confusion, delays, unintended consequences and all-purpose madness that program was. And that’s just scraping the surface. Foolish as it is to subsidize vehicles during the “fleecing the early adopters” phase of a new technology rollout (perhaps we should be saving stimulus for the inevitable “trough of disappointment”?), making those credits available at the dealer level is even worse, increasing the hype and incurring C4C-like downsides along the way.

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  • Jmatt Jmatt on May 20, 2011

    Why is nobody asking why consumers have to be bribed to purchase these vehicles? Someday, I'm going to move to a free country where I am not forced to pay for other people's shit. This country died in 1913 when they instituted the income tax and we all got the "right" to take other people's stuff. And when the government realized it needn't be constrained by taxes and could steal money from the future with debt, it dug up the country's corpse and had a necrophiliac field day with it.

  • Mike Kelley Mike Kelley on May 20, 2011

    I saw another semi load of smashed "clunkers" go by the other day. As usual, the cars still had their tires and rims on them when they were crushed. That wasteful program was stupid, even by government standards. Our budget deficit is now running at $1.5 trillion per year. Since it is insane to blow a bunch more cash trying to get folks in politically correct cars, I imagine that is just what we'll do. Check out the graph at this link to see where we are headed with all the spending: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/05/029026.php

  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on May 21, 2011

    Right now with the lack of charging station infrastructure, I'm not buying into this technology as it would not work for my needs and I could not take advantage of the C4C deal either due to my income which, even after the $3500-4500 rebates offered could not handle the payments of a new car, such as a basic, bare bones Yaris or Accent hatchback as I was about to get a loan to upgrade my PC for one powerful enough to what I need to do in order to move ahead and make more money with new skills, which was MUCH more important than a new car, but that WAS 2009 and today is well, today and I'm ready to try and upgrade the car, but for now, another ICE based vehicle will be mine soon.

  • Koblog Koblog on May 21, 2011

    Tell me again why the Feds have to bribe car buyers with borrowed money future taxpayer need to pay back in order to get people to buy electric cars today? If electric cars are such a slam dunk good idea, why won't people buy them? Don't forget, Obama INTENDS for electricity prices to go up, so whatever savings you get early will disappear later. And some states have already decided to lay an extra "road" tax on electric vehicles because they won't be paying the gasoline tax. All that, for a 50 mile radius.