The leaders of several unions and environmental groups are urging US President Joe Biden to reject efforts by foreign governments and carmakers to revise the Federal EV tax incentives outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA).
The IRA did away with the “cap” on the number of electric vehicles that qualified for the full $7500 tax credit, which, on the surface, seemed like it would be an incredible step forward, even expanding the type of vehicles qualified to include plug-in hybrid cars with batteries as small as 7 kWh.
But, as ever, there was fine print. Quite a lot of fine print, as it turned out. As passed, the new law eliminated incentives for higher-priced EVs, with a cap of $80,000 for vans, SUVs, and pickups (like the Rivian R1T, below), and a cap of just $55,000 for passenger cars like the Polestar 2 or Tesla Model 3. The new law also set a maximum adjusted gross income (AGI) for individuals who tried to claim the EV tax credit, capping income at $150,000 for single filers, $225,000 for those who file as head of household, and $300,000 for joint filers. Finally, in order for EV buyers to benefit from the full tax credit, their cars would have to be built in North America, and so would their batteries.
It’s that last bit that’s been targeted by the EU and other players in the EV space, and they’ve been lobbying the Biden Administration to back off from “the content rule,” but the unions are lobbying back.
“The IRA has the potential to be a game changer for the industrial towns hit hardest by decades of offshoring,” the United Auto Workers, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, United Steelworkers, the Sierra Club and Public Citizen said together, in a shared public statement. “We strongly urge you to ensure that the IRA is implemented as intended, without delays or technical changes that erode its promises to U.S. workers and climate goals.”
Hard To Argue Against Its Success
If Biden said that the goal of the IRA was to increase North American production and manufacturing, it would be hard to argue with his success. GM, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, and other major carmakers are committing billions into American manufacturing and creating thousands of new jobs — even if the red-hat regime is so cluelessly committed to whatever passes for ideals that they’d turn down 2,500 high-paying manufacturing jobs.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, the Biden Administration will eventually change in the IRA’s language, but the EU, for its part, is trying to argue that it’s being unfairly discriminated against. “You can move to green without discriminating,” said the EU Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis, at the Washington auto show last week, citing that US consumers “will have much less choice in what they can buy,” that can receive the $7500 credit.
As for me — well, I think Lambrinidis and everyone else crying foul is grasping at straws, and to the extent that I am for any kind of subsidy for EVs I don’t see why there shouldn’t be some level of protectionism built into them … but that’s just me. You can let us know what you think of all this IRA talk in the comments.
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