The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report in 2012 that has received scant media attention. The report titled “Effects of Federal Tax Credits for the Purchase of Electric Vehicles” takes a critical look at government subsidies for electric vehicles (EV).
Proponents argued for tax subsidies on the promise that EVs would reduce gasoline use and emissions.
The CBO report states, “[T]he [tax] credits will result in little or no reduction in the total gasoline use and greenhouse gas emissions of the nation’s vehicle fleet over the next several years.”
The CBO notes, “At current vehicle and energy prices, the lifetime costs to consumers of an electric vehicle are generally higher than those of a conventional vehicle or traditional hybrid vehicle of similar size and performance, even with the tax credits, which can be as much as $7,500 per vehicle. That conclusion takes into account both the higher purchase price of an electric vehicle and the lower fuel costs over the vehicle’s life.”
The following chart provides an overview of the CBO findings:
According to the US Department of Energy – Alternative Fuels Data Center, Florida has 351 charging stations. These EV charging stations are concentrated in the cities of Orlando, Tampa and Miami/Dade. Nearly all of the state charging stations are part of the California based ChargePoint Network. According to its website, “ChargePoint customers include large corporations such as Google and SAP; utilities such as Orlando Utilities Commission…” NovaCharge, LLC is the distributor of charging stations in the Southeast United States and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. According to the NovaCharge website it is, “[D]edicated to enabling a better environment for future generations by supporting zero-emissions transportation infrastructure.”
Florida is home to several early adopters of EVs. Among them is the Fahs family – Fran and Ron. Fran is also owner of Tallahassee based Green Energy Marketing and Consulting, LLC. Fran created the Electric Vehicle Initiative (EVI) website and has become an activist for expanding the use of EVs in Florida and across America. The EVI website states, “For years we have wanted to do something substantial to help the environment. Empowering people to take control of their transportation costs while taking a big chunk out of global warming is our desired contribution.”
In a personal email Fran Fahs stated to WDW, “With the recent attack on the Algerian oil field, the mega-storms and mega fires of the past years, I think that many more people understand that the time has definitely come to reduce our dependency on oil. It is evident from the environmental degradation that we see in our world that these environmental costs that will be passed on to the taxpayers, represents a subsidy to oil producers, since we, and not they, are paying for these high environmental costs of mining that oil from the ground.”
The common thread in all of these EV initiatives is to “help the environment” and “reduce transportation costs”. The CBO report appears to fly in the face of both of these goals. Continued subsidizing of EVs has no measurable effects other than using taxpayer money to fund credits for those who would have bought their EV anyway. Taxpayers are also subsidizing the costs of the charging stations.
It is commendable to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. That has been the stated goal of the Department of Energy since its inception. That goal has been elusive. However, another report by the US National Intelligence Council projects energy independence for America as achievable within 20 years. The path to energy independence is due to two new technologies – fracking and horizontal drilling.
WDW has asked for comments on the CBO report from Florida proponents. When they are received this column will be updated.