As part of his campaign goal of having one million plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015—a number many industry analysts consider unreachable—President Obama and his administration are hard at work introducing legislation that encourages the U.S. production and sale of plug-in cars.
Last night in his State of the Union address, the president returned to themes of clean energy and oil independence, setting an even more audacious goal of having 80 percent of the nation’s power produced from “clean energy” sources by 2035.
He said he will ask Congress to end billions of dollars of tax breaks for the oil industry, which he called “yesterday’s energy,” and use those funds for higher investments in a variety of clean-energy programs, one of which includes the electric vehicle program.
Two initiatives the president plans to move forward with in this area are:
- A conversion of the present $7,500 income-tax credit for electric-car buyers to a direct purchase rebate, and
- An additional $2 billion in funds for infrastructure support that would enable communities to install recharging stations, both public and private
Purchase rebates are more effective than income-tax credits because everyone can qualify, regardless of income. Additionally, the savings are realized immediately upon purchase, rather than taking months to arrive following the filing of taxes the next year. This type of financial push might be just the encouragement many Americans need to make the switch from gas to electric vehicles.
Having recharging stations available en mass is one of the biggest challenges for electric car owners. Since most of these vehicles won’t hold a charge that takes them more than about 200 miles, this second initiative should help provide the support drivers need to stay on the road for longer periods of time.
According to the Detroit News, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce more details about the president’s plan to further plug-in initiatives today.