Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Alliance presses lawmakers to study electric vehicle benefits

A loose alliance of utility providers, car manufacturers, fuel station builders and other advocates of alternative fuel vehicle technology say they will lobby state lawmakers to study the how electric vehicles impact Georgia's economy.

The Clean Fuels Transportation Alliance wants a legislative study committee to look at the issue over the summer and perhaps issue recommendations for how to encourage adoption of electric vehicle (EV) technology. Members of the group have just begun meeting with other lobbyists and state lawmakers, said Joy Kramer, one of the Alliance's main organizers.

Click here to read the latest predictions about when electric vehicles will go mainstream, a question that is hotly debated among car manufacturers, policy makers, scholars, and alternative fuel advocates.

Georgia went from first to worst in the nation in terms of incentives offered to electric vehicle owners last year, when the General Assembly passed a sweeping transportation funding bill (House Bill 170) aimed at raising a billion per year for road and bridge improvements. Key provisions of the bill revoked a popular $5,000 income tax credit that had been on the books for longer than a decade. At the same time, the law imposed a new $200-per-year electric vehicle registration fee.

After the bill took effect July 1, 2015, sales of electric vehicles plummeted. Advocates for alternative fuels say the state needs to study the impact of the law on the state economy and on Georgia's ability to attract new manufacturing businesses.

"We want to demonstrate to the Legislature there are real costs to not incentivizing these vehicles for public and private transportation," said Kramer. "And we want to establish what those costs are."

Clean Fuels Transportation Alliance members include ChargePoint (the world's largest electric vehicle charging network), Georgia Gas Distributors, Clean Cities-Georgia Coalition, and two automotive manufacturers that, according to Kramer are "very recognizable brands." Kramer said she could not identify them until she got the companies' approval.

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