As Governor Nathan Deal signed the Transportation Bill which repeals the ZEV/LEV Tax Credits, Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols shares his thoughts on what to do now in this guest post. Throughout the battle to keep some EV tax incentive, Tim has been a strong and unwavering voice in support of sustaining the growth of EV’s in Georgia. Many thanks Tim! #2016
All good things must come to an end By Tim Echols
It is official. The generous $5000 state tax credit for leasing or purchasing an electric vehicle is expiring June 30th. The Governor has signed the legislation that passed both the Senate and the House at the Capitol, and would-be electric car drivers are scrambling to get their Nissan LEAF, Tesla or other pure electric vehicle before the credit disappears.
Here are some factors you should consider before buying or leasing an electric car.
First, make sure a pure electric car works for your lifestyle. I live in Athens and lease two Nissan LEAFs, and it works great for my wife and daughter who scoot in and around Athens. When they need to go into Atlanta or drive out of state, they use my E85 car. They charge their cars in our garage and it costs about $20 per month on our electric bill.
Second, these cars have their limitations. Since I have been on the Georgia Public Service Commission, I have praised pioneers who bought or leased an essentially experimental car like a Tesla or Nissan LEAF. It is good for our environment and good for our grid. These consumers are choosing to use a “made in America” fuel too—homegrown Georgia electricity. But mark my word, you will experience “range anxiety” from time to time as you try to press the limit of the 100 mile range on the Nissan LEAF. Tesla owners…not so much. They just have to worry about making their giant car payment.
Third, besides costing less to operate, our Nissan LEAFs, both on a 24 month lease, save our family money. Our monthly lease payments are about $270 per month per car. Nissan “bakes” the $7500 federal tax credit into the transaction, and you simple file with the state department of revenue for the state credit. Figured over 24 months, that is $208 per month, leaving us with about $62 per month out of pocket for the car. We installed a garage charger for about $700 including labor, and the car never needs oil, water, transmission fluid…or gas. We feel like that great deal more than compensates for the “range anxiety” we occasionally experience.
Fourth, the local economy may get a boost from this transaction too. When that tax credit comes back to you, many electric car owners use it to pay college tuition for a child, or a bill, or just put it in the bank to offset the payments. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, for every one percent of petroleum-based miles traveled in Georgia that is displaced by electric vehicles, approximately $201 million dollars will remain in the state of Georgia annually. Each pure electric vehicle purchased keeps $2,242 annually in the state of Georgia by fueling with electricity rather than petroleum-based products.
Finally, electric cars help our grid. What you don’t hear is that electric car owners are helping Georgia cut electricity usage, which ultimately saves everyone money. How? Many shift their energy usage to the overnight hours due to an incentive from Georgia Power for electric car owners. According to a study of 1,000 Georgia electric car owners, these customers reduced their annual bill by $180 – even though they charged their car and didn’t buy gasoline for the entire year. This “load shifting,” as we call it at the PSC, saves them money and yet uses less “peak load” electricity resulting in cheaper bills for everyone.
Electric cars aren’t for everyone, but they work great for us. If you want to take advantage of the Georgia tax credit, you should act quickly. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org and join me at the Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow coming to a city near you. See more at www.afvroadshow.com and happy motoring.
Commissioner Tim Echols serves on the Georgia Public Service Commission and leases two Nissan LEAFS. He regulates electricity, natural gas and telecom for the state of Georgia.
Editors Note: To qualify for the $5,000 ZEV, Georgia residents must take delivery of the qualifying new vehicle (Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S or Roadster, KIA Soul EV, VW eGolf, Mitsubishi Mio) by midnight June 30, 2015. The vehicle must be in your possession with a Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement signifying delivery. Contact your automotive dealer/showroom for more details.