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Published on January 27th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan


Georgia Electric Car Sales Drop ~90% In ~6 Months

January 27th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

How far have we come since the 2006 documentary Who Killed The Electric Car, an astute film nominated for Best Documentary Environmental Media Awards (2006) and many other awards? The film won and was a finalist for several big awards, partly because of how disappointing the turn away from electric cars was. How far have we come since then? It depends on the state. California, particularly with its Charge Ahead program, $2,500 ZEV rebate, and ZEV mandate. Many other states are lagging, though, and one is even going backward. Georgia was a surprising progressive encouraging EV adoption. In fact, at one time, it was leading the country in incentives for EVs. But Georgia has been driving down incentives for EVs. Is it another murder attempt on electric cars?

The film bears repetition at this time. Protecting clean air, clean water, and a livable climate warrants EV support. If we were adequately pricing gasoline and carbon emissions, that would be one thing, but since we’re not….

There are more reasons for driving EVs. Not every person becomes interested in EVs due to care for clean air or ecological wellness. Some do so due to the genuinely superior torque, the space-age-styled technology, the concern for safer travel, and the quiet. Others have become interested due to the math, as explains:

Don Francis notes that Atlanta, Georgia, only about a year ago was second in the nation in electric car use. Francis is the coordinator of the federal Clean Cities program in the state. The article notes that new registrations of electric vehicles have fallen ~90% since the summer of 2015.

Unfortunately, Georgia state policy changed. “State law provided those who bought or leased an EV a $5,000 tax credit. A Georgian with an EV could divide that credit over a two-year lease and recoup about $200 a month. But in 2015, Georgia state lawmakers ended the tax incentive to find savings that offset a transportation spending bill.”

Urgency in electrifying transport is advised but not heeded… except in California, a state that aims to be emissions free by 2025. California programs such as Charge Ahead respond to the desire for cleaner air and a stable climate. If Californians can manage this, it seems more states could. Lung problems from diesel fumes are not convenient, nor cheap, but the current math equation for EVs without tax incentives makes the cleaner, healthier cars less attractive, or even out of the financial reach, of most buyers. notes, “The timing for approval of new tax incentives might be better in a few years, said Tim Echols, when manufacturers like Chevy and Tesla promise to develop electric cars that can drive far longer distances on a single charge.”

A few years = more to restore. Worsening air in the meantime.

For more details on financial incentives for EVs, check out: Plug-In America’s United States Incentives Map and the DOE’s Federal Tax Credits for All-Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles.

Related Stories:

Everyone Could Be Driving EVs In 10–15 Years

The Autowende Is Here: Electric Cars Are The Next Trillion Dollar Industry

US Transportation System Could Save $1 Trillion Annually, Reduce Carbon Emissions By 1 Gigaton

EV Guide From Sierra Club Updated — New Incentives, New EVs, Busting EV Myths, Etc

EV Tax Credits: 90% Got To Wealthiest 20%

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About the Author

is a Mother, an Organic Farmer, Licensed Acupuncturist, Anthropology Studies, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.

  • ToddFlach

    Toll roads into Atlanta with differentiated tolls would be enough to increase EV sales. Charge EVs a low toll (but not zero!), high efficiency ICEs a modest toll, and gas guzzlers a really painful toll, say 5 USD/day. This would also help the finances of Atlanta to pay for other infrastructure projects.

  • freethinker

    as a Georgia EV owner…it’s disappointing to see the incentive dropped completely. adoption of EVs here is widespread because of it. would have been nice to reduce it for awhile…before removing it completely. EVs are not really ready for widespread sales without incentives.

    • John Moore


  • Ariel

    I knew this going to happen as a GA resident when it was proposed. Georgia basically killed LEAF car sales when Nathan Deal signed into law the House bill that did the following:

    1. Removed the states $5000 Tax credit
    2. Added a $200 per year Birthday tax for EV owners (The $200/yr figure is based on made up numbers assuming one drives a EV 24K miles per year and then rounded up $25)

    Gasoline now at $1.56 at a local QT gas station pretty much nailed LEAF sales coffin shut in Atlanta.

    Every single LEAF owner I know in Atlanta only leased it because of the tax credit. Most after the lease is up don’t keep it unless NMAC gave them a pretty big discount citing the limited range and this was before the $200 per year EV tax.

    • Omega Centauri

      I think Georgia Leafs are exported to California when the leases come up. Thats where mine had spent its past life.

      I think this is partly explained by the boomerang effect (I’m making up the term): start with incentives that are really high, and there will be a backlash before long. And the backlash usually a huge overreaction. Perhaps if it hadn’t been so high in the first place they wouldn’t have been such an obvious target?

      • Andy

        The only reason it was so high is because it’s an older policy and the politicos in GA did not expect EV’s to be taken seriously. These guys never supported EV’s to begin with, which is why they axed it hard as soon as it started to make a difference.

    • Modok EvilMastermind

      I wonder how much trucks pay to drive on these roads? It would be pretty sad if EV owners pay more than the people who wreak the most havoc on road maintenance…

  • Freddy D

    Or like EPA requirements for mpg – much more effective than saving thousands of dollars on fuel and people still buy powerful and inefficient cars

  • Freddy D

    We’ll see a huge spike in large cars and trucks when sales numbers come in. Must hit financial parity with ICEs for this market to take off. Without clear financial parity, or better, financial benefit, the EV market is weak. We have about 6 years of pretty clear data now. Even in California EV sales are tiny.

  • TrueNorth00

    Incentives never work as well as mandates or penalties. And incentives will be hard to scale up to any level of even moderately appreciable marketshare. Imagine giving 10% of carbuyers credits for EV buying. Would really dent government budgets.
    Far better to tax gas higher. And/or impose mandates on the carmakers to sell more zero-emissions vehicles. Like California.

    • Otis11

      I actually attended a talk by John Deutch this afternoon on this very topic… it turns out that imposing efficiency mandates on dealers does little to actually reduce emissions (on a first order anyway, might have a small second or third order effect).

      I don’t have the numbers to quote from his presentation, but it turns out that in the real world, most of the added efficiency is replaced by people’s changing behavior – when it’s cheap to drive, they drive more on average and they don’t always drive the more efficient car even if they have it (aka, a family buys a 50 mpg prius and a 26 mpg SUV meeting the 2016 CAFE standards of 38 mpg, but chose to drive the SUV twice as many miles per year as the prius because gas is cheap and the SUV is more convenient).

      So in reality, the best answer is a fuel tax… but that’s politically unfavorable. (Though I HIGHLY support it!)

      • TrueNorth00

        I’d favour higher gas taxes over mandates. But failing higher gas taxes, mandates are probably better than nothing.

        • Otis11

          Oh, I agree, a mandate is probably better than nothing, and there are second and third order effects that will reduce fuel usage, but on a first order mandates may improve mileage but they often do little to decrease fuel usage. People simply drive more miles and chose the vehicle which is more convenient, even if it’s not the most practical.

          But yes, it’s better than nothing… (Well, it would actually be quite good if it was high enough to force them to transition to PHEVs and EVs – at least in part. Make the average 60 MPG and for every two 40 MPG car they sell they’d have to sell a 100 MPGe PHEV/BEV. Sure, you still have the same effect where people chose the convenient car, but transitioning even some of the mileage to electric is a win. Sadly, current mandates are not nearly high enough for that.)

    • tmac1

      Great blog on Elon Musk called “wait buy why” makes the good point that offering a tax incentive for solar or EV while not increasing tax on polluting oil gas coal plants and ICE is like allowing a home or restaurant to dump garbage in the street while the government helps a responsible neighbor or competing restaurant pay the garbage man or recycled material. The truth hurts and Polluters need to be paying their fair share of this.

    • Roger Lambert

      ” Imagine giving 10% of carbuyers credits for EV buying. Would really dent government budgets.”

      You think we should end incentives to protect government revenues? How about ending thirty-five years of tax breaks for the rich, instead?

      This article is all about how EV sales respond positively to healthy subsidies and negatively to subsidy decreases – so your conclusion is to end subsidies?!?

      The real reason EV’s are not selling as well as hoped is because all cars are no selling as well as hoped – because there is no more middle class anymore. Lots of people would love to buy an EV – but nobody can afford them because real wages are lower than they have been in sixty years.

      So, your advice to raise gas taxes is kinda cruel. See if you can come up with ways to sell more EV’s by putting money into people’s pockets instead of pulling ever more out of them?

      • TrueNorth00

        Never get why people get do defensive.

        Yes. I support an end to all market distorting subsidies.

        You know what will help sell more EVs? Not a buyer’s credit. But higher gas prices. As in gas taxed at a level that actually reflects the cost of operating the road network. And if you’re American, your road network has billions in backlogs.

        And yes, the government cannot afford to subsidise EVs in any reasonable quantity. Were sales to rise, governments would have to sunset the subsidies. Which is why it’s ridiculous to build a business case for EVs built on subsidies.

        Ask yourself, if you want 1% of cars converted to electric or 100%?

  • Martin

    To put this into a different context:
    In 1973 – OPEC embargo – crude went from $ 20 barrel to $ 50.
    In 1979 – 2 nd oil crisis – crude went from $ 50 to above $ 100.
    In the early 1980’s if fell from above $ 100 to around $ 60 by 1985.
    In September of 1985 if fell to about $ 30 barrel and stayed between $ 30 t0 40 until abut 1998, at that time it fell to $ 20.
    It was not until around 2000 that Germany introduced the policies that created the “Energiewende”.
    Now with the price jump in the 70’s why did it take so long for us to try to change energy to RE?
    When it hits people in the wallet they are more inclined to change their ways, perhaps the increased prices were not enough?
    Now if human kind would have started in the 1970’s and early 1980’s with changing to RE, we would be now a long way into the transition and would have not emitted a lot less CO 2.

    • newnodm

      “Now with the price jump in the 70’s why did it take so long for us to try to change energy to RE?”

      Perhaps people thought a 50 watt solar panel costing $5000 was a bit pricey?

      • Martin

        Actually in 1974 prices for panels were $ 35 W, $ 12,84 W in 1983 (Retail prices for modules).
        So a 50 watt panel would have been $ 1750 in 1974 and $ 642 in 1983, not $ 5000.
        At those prices $ 5000/W, the navy’s would not have replaced all their navigational aids with solar/batteries, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
        Also if the change to more RE had happened earlier prices may have come down sooner.

      • MorinMoss

        Solar PV certainly wasn’t feasible for homeowners back then but solar thermal was – and still is.
        Yet the US has been way behind most of the 1/2-developed world in adopting it.

    • John Ihle

      well..uhhh… actually “we” did start in the 1970’s and early 80’s transitioning. You and others made the point that it’s economics, primarily, the driver behind wide spread adoption. The main reason, I believe, why RE is increasingly so popular is pure and simple; because it’s now inexpensive. And incentives have been effective in helping bring the cost down.
      It wasn’t magic that brought us to where we are; virtually ignored and somewhat laughed at for the most part for many, many years….. appreciate the fight. It’s been a long one.

      • Martin

        Yes but what frustrates me, in the past a number of governments had incentives for solar and other RE systems under one administration only to have the next administration cancel them!
        All while at the same time FF kept their subsidies. :((
        And even Exxon had factored in a carbon tax on oil of up to $ 60 per ton by now, but does a US have a carbon tax currently?

        • John Ihle

          it has been frustrating. no doubt. I think things are on a path but with many obstacles along the way. ff and the utility sector won’t give up.

          • sjc_1

            Every president since Nixon has talked about “energy independence” in 2005 we imported more oil than ever.

          • Martin

            Yes in the US and also Canada, my home, and Australia, while in other places around the world things look a bit different and perhaps even somewhat optimistic.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, man. My calendar’s broke.

            I was thinking it was 2016 and the US was producing a large amount of the oil it consumes.

          • Martin

            Yes it is 2016 and as of Jan 28, 2016 the US stock pile of crude oil increased by 8.4 million barrels in one week to raise it to a total of 494.9 million barrels, in the US, or about one half of the worlds total of about 1 trillion barrels of oil (in storage)l.
            They expect to add to that this year of about 200 million barrels +.

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