Merkley, Heinrich, Cortez Masto Introduce Legislation to Extend Electric Vehicle Tax Credit for 10 Years

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) today announced the introduction of the Electric Cars Act of 2018, legislation to extend the electric vehicle tax credit for 10 years.

The Electric Cars Act has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV). In addition to Merkley, Heinrich, and Cortez Masto, the legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

“It’s crazy that we might allow the electric vehicle tax credit to run out just as the American EV market is starting to gain a foothold,” said Merkley. “Every day, we see the effects of climate chaos all around us—record-setting droughts, out-of-control wildfires, destructive mega-storms, and spreading insects and ocean acidification. Market-based incentives that help EVs compete with gas-powered cars are not only good for our economy, they’re essential to our future.”

“At a time when electric cars are making advances in scale of production and becoming more competitive in the marketplace, we need to continue encouraging the progress we’ve seen—not take our foot off the pedal,” said Heinrich. “This bill is pro-growth tax policy that will keep us moving our transportation sector forward. We need to remember that making our cars cleaner, and modernizing our energy use overall, isn’t just about creating new jobs, or harnessing our innovative clean energy potential. It is about meeting our moral imperative to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate the devastating and costly consequences of climate change.”

“I am proud to cosponsor legislation that will allow consumers to continue receiving important tax credits that encourage the use and development of electric vehicles in Nevada, and throughout the country,” said Cortez Masto. “There are projected to be over 7 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2025, and I will keep fighting in Congress to promote electric vehicles and other innovative technologies that reduce the impact of global warming and strengthen our economy.”

“Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the United States,” said Representative Welch. “It is urgent that we transition to cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. Our legislation will make electric vehicles and their charging stations more affordable, while saving Vermonters money at the gas pump and reducing their environmental footprint.” 

“I’m proud to see my Senate colleague Jeff Merkley introduce companion legislation to our bill with Congressman Welch to continue the electric vehicle tax credit for the next 10 years,” said Congresswoman Rosen. “This forward-thinking legislation will extend an important federal tax credit incentivizing Nevada consumers to transition to electric vehicles and provide more certainty as our state moves to a cleaner, more energy efficient economy. I’ll continue taking action in Congress to support policies that allow Nevada to reduce carbon emissions and become a clean energy leader.”

The transportation sector is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions 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 American electric vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla and General Motors advance the EV market, and offers more options to consumers. Given global efforts to transition away from internal combustion engines, the U.S. should not be limiting the production and support of domestically manufactured electric vehicles. A recent survey found that 74% of consumers say the tax credit would affect their decision to buy an EV, and 63% said the credit is an important measure to support EV adoption.

Currently, a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is available for the purchase of electric vehicles. However, federal statute caps the number of vehicles eligible for the tax credit at 200,000 for each manufacturer. With domestic manufactures expected to hit this cap as early as this year, federal action is needed to ensure a competitive electric vehicle market that continues to provide the choice and ability for consumers to purchase 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 at the point of sale, making the credit more applicable to those without large tax liability
  • 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.