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Reviews | New Benefits Expand Electric Car Ownership Potential


Megan McArdle’s Aug. 17 op-ed, “Subsidies Won’t Charge the Future of Our Electric Cars,” argued that the United States should stop funding incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) and focus on charging stations.

The editorial highlighted a Consumer Reports survey that found Americans cite charging infrastructure as a barrier to getting an electric vehicle more often than they cite cost. But he did not point out that 52% of Americans cited cost as a barrier, and 53% said they would be more likely to buy an electric vehicle if a tax credit lowered the price.

The incentives for electric vehicles in the Cut Inflation Act are complicated, but they represent a hugely positive upside for adoption. They will undoubtedly help automakers bring more affordable electric vehicles to middle-class Americans.

And the incentives aren’t just for new-car buyers. Incentives of up to $4,000 will now be available for used electric vehicles. This will help make the significant fuel and maintenance savings that electric vehicles can offer more accessible to Americans buying used cars.

These new tax credits, combined with the $7.5 billion in federal investments in charging infrastructure from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, will go a long way toward removing two of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle ownership.

Quinta Warren, Washington

The author is associate director of sustainability policy for Consumer Reports.

To suggest that the government should not get involved in green energy development is to maintain the status quo at the expense of a viable future for my children. Most people can’t do much on their own to make healthy changes to the planet. It’s only because government subsidies and tax benefits have made it affordable that my family has solar panels and an electric car. Otherwise, we simply could not have afforded it.

In Virginia, I remember sales of hybrids increased when tolls were removed for green vehicles. Why was this cut short? Gasoline tax revenue and toll revenue have declined. Why do tax benefits for “going green” have limits? Because they are so popular, they affect government revenue or hurt polluting companies.

At least businesses will also get help. This is a good thing.

To suggest that Western governments do not need to use national collective action to change our course is wrong. Western citizens use daily what citizens of developing countries use monthly. To keep the cost of goods sold inhumanely low and not invest in expensive clean manufacturing, we simply exported our pollution.

Victoria Brombacher, Vienna

I read Megan McArdle’s August 17 op-ed with great anticipation. Its premise was that “subsidizing electric vehicles is not the right way to fight climate change”. I read and read to the end, looking for the “right way”. But my expectation never ended. She offered no alternative, other than to do nothing and let mythical inventors “invent technologies that are in fact superior” to existing technologies.

“Do nothing and let market forces solve the problem” is the tired response from those invested in the problematic business. If market forces alone could solve the existential problem of greenhouse gases, wouldn’t the problem already have a solution?

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