Pressured by supporters of electric vehicles, legislature drops plans for extra tax
Not the time to put the brakes on
Thousands of Michigan citizens, including many supporters of the Ecology Center, contacted Michigan legislators earlier this month to head a plan to impose an additional $75 fee on electric and hybrid vehicles.
The plan was a reflection of a national trend to try to squeeze more money out of EVs and hybrids because they pay less in gas taxes, despite the fact that little revenue would be raised from the relatively small number of these vehicles on the roads. More important, though, is the fact that in states like Michigan, these vehicles are already paying their fair share.
"In our analysis, we found that electric vehicles contribute more gross revenue, and more revenue per mile, for state coffers than traditional vehicles," according to Charles Griffith, climate and energy program director at the Ecology Center. "So the argument that electric vehicles receive a 'free ride' just isn’t true.'
The Ecology Center is one of the lead organizations in Built by Michigan, a coalition of environmental groups, labor organizations, large and small manufacturers, car buffs and others to advance the manufacturing and sales of electric and hybrid vehicles in Michigan.
"The legislation also didn’t seem to take into account how many jobs are being created in Michigan from the research and manufacturing of electric vehicles and advanced batteries, and how many more could be gained from the continued success of this emerging sector that Michigan has a leadership stake in," Griffith said.
In his testimony to the committee, GM lobbyist Brian O’Connell asked why we would want to hurt potential sales of Michigan-made cars after companies like his have made significant investments. Why risk sending the message to potential customers or potential investors that Michigan is notreally that excited about being a leader in the advanced vehicle market?
"That’s why we encouraged our supporters to contact their representatives and let them know that this isn’t the time for Michigan to stall out on the race to our automotive future, and we know our supporters messages made the difference," Griffith said. "Now we have to keep up the momentum, and convince our legislators that Michigan should be looking for ways to get more people back to work rather than putting on the brakes."
EcoLink — June 2013 Ecolink An online publication of the Ecology Center