Electric-vehicle advocates may really start believing the old Charlie Daniels song The Devil Went Down to Georgia after reading that one of that state's former politicians wants to abolish the local EV tax incentive. Former Alpharetta Mayor Chuck Martin says the state should cut its $5,000 perk because the federal government's $7,500 incentive is enough at this point to get folks to buy plug-ins, the Atlanta Business Chronicle says. Martin is pushing for the incentive to be dropped by April 1.

Electric vehicles accounted for about one percent of total 2013 vehicle sales in Georgia, which last year was fourth among the 50 states in total EV registrations. The state is currently more generous with its subsidies than neighboring Tennessee and South Carolina, whose subsidies are $2,500 and $1,500, respectively. Tesla Motors, for one, sold an estimated 500 all-electric Model S EVs in Georgia last year. Atlanta was also the number one city for Nissan Leaf for many months last year.

Oddly, Martin, a hybrid driver, is supporting an ordinance that would allow Tesla to sell as many as 1,500 EVs a year in the state via its direct factory-to-customer process, which state dealers are rallying against. Currently, Tesla can only sell 150 vehicles that way (the other 350 sold in Georgia last year had to be registered in California). So maybe Martin, who calls EVs like the Leaf "price competitive" without the Georgia perk, isn't the devil after all.


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  • 55 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 10 Months Ago
      EVs will live on.
      elctrNmbliT
      • 10 Months Ago
      "Martin is pushing for the incentive to be dropped by April 1" April Fools!
      CoolWaters
      • 10 Months Ago
      I guess cleaner air, with no corporate backing, is hard to measure.
        EZEE2
        • 10 Months Ago
        @CoolWaters
        Clean air with corporate backing? Ehem 'And today's lilac scented clean air is brought to you by your friends at Tidy Cat! Tidy Cat! Strong enough for two cats!'
      • 10 Months Ago
      Can government please stop all subsidies? The winners and losers are political choices based on who has the best lobbyist. If this wasn't true, the government would be subsidizing bicycles and walking shoes.
        CoolWaters
        • 10 Months Ago
        When Big Oil Stops even ONE Subsidy, then we can talk.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          The nonpartisan taxpayer watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates the U.S. tax code currently contains about $5 billion in yearly tax breaks that are exclusive to the oil and gas industry, and says the industry also benefits from an extra $5.5 billion worth of general business tax provisions that companies in other industries also claim." http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2012/may/04/bill-johnson/bill-johnson-says-subsidies-oil-companies-barack-o/
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          @CoolWaters I thought so, you have no idea about what your ranting about , and you appear to be having some kind of mental breakdown. Seek professional help.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          @ Joeviocoe Actually the point of my comment was that 'coolwaters' has not the faintest idea about the slogan he parrots. The " Taxpayers for Common Sense ", study contains roughly conclusions as formed the basis for President Obama's speech. Under challenge, both revised the estimate to between $ 2-3 billion., mostly for either the Natural gas industry, or very old subsidies, to small producers. Not a great deal for an industry that directly pays 180 billion in tax, and indirectly contributes to 23.3% of the national economy ! The US consumes about 175 billion gallons of oil and gasoline, and 25, trillion cubic feet of gasoline. Even if these tax breaks were removed, the difference in the pump price, wouldn't be noticeable !
          Actionable Mango
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          "When Big Oil Stops even ONE Subsidy, then we can talk." No, I think states ought to be able to start or end these incentives as they wish, regardless of what the Federal government is doing. Why do you want to shut down discussion?
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          @ Joeviocoe When you speak of a 'dying' industry, I think you mean the fuel part of the Oil Industry. The Petro Chemical industry remains essential to human existence. ( Actually, this is a far more profitable part of the Oil Industry than fuel). Another alarming aspect, is the increasing need for oil and gas to produce fertiliser. Oil and gas will be around for a long time.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/09/1423351/oil-zero-subsidies/
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Yes, the automotive industry. And everything tied up with Internal Combustion, eventually. The source material, oil...is useful for too many things. But the method in which we convert to mechanical motion... those days are numbered. Won't completely disappear either... but put them with the horses.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Well I do agree that the relationship between governments and the oil industry are so intertwined that it will not be simple nor easy to separate the two. The cannot be simplified into, "just end oil subsidies". Rather, we must have a good plan to end these subsidies. A plan that does the least short term damage, and meets our long term goals. However, we must NOT just throw up our hands at the overwhelming complexity of Oil/Gov't relationship... and just admit the problem will always be with us. We should NOT just say they are, "too big to fail".... we should strive to move on from the status quo and not hang on to an industry just because it's "been like this for as long as we can remember". There will be pain, and many people will lose their jobs and livelihood. It is a gamble to work in any industry. People, whether they know it or not, are betting their industry will be needed in the long term... and with progress, many people will lose that bet. And always remember, as an industry dies... they will go down fighting with every last breath of misleading statistics. The U.S. tax code is very complex and lends itself to gross misinterpretation for anyone willing to frame the numbers into whatever agenda they would like.
          CoolWaters
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Marco, you think it's hard to find oil subsidy info on the internet? http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/ If I listed everything I know about oil subsidies: 1) NO ONE WOULD READ IT 2) There's only a 3000 character limit, this isn't my soapbox, this is AOL's. But, even bigger then this is the FREE PASS the oil industry is getting regarding Fracking and the Clean Water Act. What idiot President allowed The Fracking industry to be exempt from the clean water act? Dick Cheney. The 40 year INCOMPETENCE of the Republican Party has to END. You do not have a Right to Destroy the Nation, and send an Epidemic of Cancer into every area you drill, and be Exempt for PROSECUTION. Lucky the Oil industry has Bought out the Republican ***** Party for LEGAL PROTECTION. So, they're polluting my state, your state is surely on the list and you'll get you're too. Just like those Texan's who passed a law about limiting legal compensation judgements. Then they got screwed by corporate America. And with those laws in play No Way to get Compensated for damages. Republicans are the New American *****'s. You can't Admit or Live in the REAL World.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          @ Joeviocoe Again you are correct, the tax breaks are not evenly distributed across the industry. Most of the concessions are very old and ending their period of validity, while others are compensations payments for creating the Strategic National Energy Reserve. If you are advocating that the government should tax one industry, to encourage a competitor based on 'moral' or ideological grounds, that's an unusual (and dangerous) concept, but quite within the power of Congress and the President to legislate. As for ending some of the subsidies, as President Obama discovered, many of these concessions or compensation payments are contractual, the government may not have the legal power to terminate such arrangement, without compensation. On a larger scale, the size and spread of the oil industry throughout the US and Western economies, makes disengagement is very difficult .The consequences of any transition will be economically painful, and need decades of careful planning and preparation. The US federal government needs oil industry taxes, equally important are the profits generated by the oil industry, which are mostly paid as dividends to the Superannuation and retirement funds. The huge burden of ageing populations across the Western world, is a worrying problem for governments like the US, with massive exposure to unfunded liabilities and obligations, due to be realised over the next few decades. Even the importation of oil from nations like the United Arab Emirates, is a difficult issue for the US. On the one hand, some American's demand that these import cease for political, ideological or prejudice reasons, But economically, the US would be a heavy loser. Most of the oil imported from the UAE, is refined in the US and re-exported, earning "value added" export income. In addition the US exports manufactured goods and food to the UAE. These US exporters rely heavily on US exports to the UAE, and employ hundreds of thousands, even millions of Americans. The UAE is also an important destination for UAE petro-dollar investment. Stopping this trade would be a savage blow to a fragile US economy. (as well as a strategic loss). That's just a small example of the economic complexities faced by governments attempting to disengage from oil. The priority of every government, is to get re-elected, that doesn't happen if governments don't manage the economy with prudence. " It all looks so simple, until you're put in charge !" ( Harry S Truman )
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          @ CoolWaters At last, an expert ! Ok, now tell me what are the 'oil subsidies' , you want stopped ? Name them. Do a little research, instead of ranting, and name these ''subsidies ". Not vague stuff like US military, or fresh air, but actual 'subsidies '. Your great hero, the current President outlined what he considered oil "subsidies" (then revised the list on expert advice ), so c'mon, just that list will serve the purpose. ?
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Well, it is nice to see revised numbers. But tax breaks are not evenly distributed among the entire industry. $3 billion is not being divided up evenly across the same companies and entities which are responsible for the $180 billion in tax revenue. It is kinda like saying Ethanol subsidies is a small percentage of tax revenue that all corn farmers bring in. Either way, it is a subsidy that should end. If it were truly such a small drop in the bucket, we shouldn't see them fight so hard to keep this measly $3 billion, right? I agree, that gasoline prices won't change much. But that should not be the main reason. That money could be spend better, by giving it to ZEVs. It is better to invest in the future of the automotive industry, rather than its past.
        Marco Polo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @ John S Every government, grants subsidies, of one sort or another, to industry. Sometimes these are direct incentives, allowances, or tax credits. This is how governments encourage or direct the national economy of the nation, often in competition with other national economies. Because of all the different types of 'subsidies' people often confuse the different terms and purposes, and this creates misconceptions and myths. These are the financial and economic measures by which governments protect employment, ease the pain of natural disasters, stimulate economic growth, attract investment, control inflation, and generally manage the economy. People who call for simplistic solutions, never think through the consequences of what they demand. Like everything, Subsidies, tax breaks, incentives etc, along with taxes and levies etc, can be mismanaged. It's a matter of getting the balance right, in a world of constantly shifting economic conditions. The term 'free market' is misunderstood. Since civilisation began, governments have always needed to regulate aspects of the economy, or there would be no 'civilization' just anarchy.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe I'm sorry I can't find the context for the use of the phrase "realistic and timely goals" . But, in general I would think that a requirement for any government policy, should include a practical and detailed plan of achieving the objective, within a reasonable time frame, and include appropriate monitoring,auditing and accountability throughout the life of the policy. .
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --" the idea that any government could manage a modern economy without stimulus, anti-stimulus, instruments, is delusional. " --"misconceptions begin when simplistic ideology, is preferred to economic pragmatism." Agreed. That is why I do not mind smart subsidies designed to achieve realistic and timely goals. Once those goals are achieved (or realized to be impractical) subsidies should be discontinued. Jump starting the EV (r)evolution is a goal worthy of both state and federal subsidies. Georgia has been good, but now, in 2014, automakers have had plenty of time to begin volume production of ZEVs... so it seems fair to end state level subsidies. Federal tax credits should continue a few more years I think. I think road tax exemptions should continue until ZEVs reach at least 20% though... a small incentive, just to keep momentum going.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe That's an interesting observation, Joe. Tax systems, and attitudes, are quite different all over the world. I've also noticed wide differences within the US. There's no general agreement on terminology, but 'Subsidies' are usually considered as monies paid to the industry, (or its customers), by the government.. In contrast, 'tax breaks' are basically permissible deductions, for extraordinary items, or a lower rate of tax than would normally be levied as an incentive for investment etc. You're correct, the debate is far from simple, but the idea that any government could manage a modern economy without stimulus, anti-stimulus, instruments, is delusional. Economic policy is always complicated by political and social issues, which may include some economic aspects, but these are often sacrificed in favour of ideology, political expediency, or other concerns. The misconceptions begin when simplistic ideology, is preferred to economic pragmatism.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Bound to happen sooner or later. We might disagree only when we narrow our focus to talk about specifics like, what exact do "realistic and timely goals" mean.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Most Americans consider 'tax breaks' as a type of subsidy. Not sure if Australians do too. Either way, the debate is far from simple misconceptions.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe We appear to be in furious agreement ! :)
        EZEE2
        • 10 Months Ago
        LTAW just perked up....'subsidies for walking shoes? Power to the people!'
        2 wheeled menace
        • 10 Months Ago
        That would be nice. But a certain political faction would sound a stage 5 alarm over gas prices going up $0.50-$1 because we started folding in the externalities and military costs of securing oil into the cost at the pump... they'd throw a tantrum on an epic scale. I really wish Republicans were actually fiscally responsible and pro-free market, but they're not. Just like Democrats, they are just there to pay back the corporations that elected them. I, more of the libertarian side completely agree with you. Subsidize nothing, factor in all externalities, and see what wins in the end. Things should be priced according to their merit anyway. I think the end result = slightly higher gas prices & more financial incentive for companies to invest in alternatives = we get off gas sooner.
          CoolWaters
          • 10 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          If Dems were as corrupt as the Repubs, there'd be no protest about the Keystone XL, and no Obamacare. As for Externalities, Big Oil will fight tooth and nail to NEVER have to Pay for Externalities, or they'd have to shut down oil and coal.
      raktmn
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'd like to bash them, but the vast majority of states have never had a single penny of state EV incentives, so it is really hard to bash a state that at least for a while had something most states never had.
      SublimeKnight
      • 10 Months Ago
      The subsidy in GA was always a bet/investment to win back federal funding for interstate expansion. ATL has been over the air pollution threshold to receive federal road construction funding for a couple decades. Just a couple years ago, Macon also slipped above the threshold. Right now, both cities can only get federal funding to improve interstates in the name of safety and congestion doesn't count. I have a feeling when this is all laid out (the $ "spent" on these incentives vs the $$$ to be gained) this bill will fail. I'm sure some modification will be made to save face, but I doubt the incentives will go away outright.
      Marco Polo
      • 10 Months Ago
      I've noticed that many AB and ABG readers complain about Danny Kings style of journalism. This article is a fairly good example of this style of reporting. Reading Danny King's article, any one not familiar the politics of Georgia, would gain the impression that Chuck Martin is some Tea Party zealot, trying to damage the progress of EV's. Having stirred the possums, Danny King mentions that Rep Martin is a "hybrid driver " , not that Martin was and early advocate for the State fleet to include Prius (and other Hybrids) and a loud supporter of GM's Volt. True, Charles E (Chuck) Martin is "a former Mayor of Alpharetta", but Danny King fails to mention that Chuck Martin is also a five term State legislator, representing the 47th district. Danny King also conveniently fails to mention that Representative Martin was instrumental in introducing the State incentives for EV's ! Representative Martin is one of the most popular Southern politicians. In trying to find a compromise for Tesla and the GADA, he risked losing support within his own party. It's a measure of his sincerity, and the respect of his support base, that he's been able to attempt to cobble together a compromise. As Chairman of the Budget & Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, it's Chuck Martin's job to determine when a State incentive program has accomplished it usefulness. Chuck Martin is a strong environmental advocate, with a long history of championing environmental causes and promoting new technology. State governments can only do so much, funds are limited, and once an industry is established, it's up to the electors to decide if they want the 'incentives' to transform into long term subsidies.
        EZEE2
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        This is my biggest criticism of ABG, and all of its writers. What is the point of a blog? Or a pseudo plot, as ABG is? Well, to take news stories from various sites and comment on them. One might hope that the writer would also fill in the blanks, add additional information, or provide other useful bits of insight to keep the reader interested, but also help educate the reader. Toyota Prius blogs, for example, also provide commentary on how to get your car to go further. Here, however, the commentary just makes us dumber. We are treated to poor spelling and laughable grammar, and also outright factual mistakes that are easily corrected once one simply reads the source article. The habit of putting a R after a republican that does something bad for EV's but skipping the D when it is a. Democrat (like on new taxes on EV's) does a disservice to the reader (although oddly, Danny skipped the R on this ken, which was odd). I can remember Sebastian sniffing that that identifying the party of the person proposing the tax on EV's was not relevant. Haw haw. In the end, Marco and Rak provide insight and political commentary, 2WM will have political or technical insight, Dan will expound upon the inherent goodness of lightweight and aero, and Cool will Koch brothers rush Limbaugh Republican Party. That is what makes this site worth coming to. The sad thing is, the writers don't even acknowledge this fact, never hat tip on article references, but sit back and arrogantly think that they have talent and skill, and that those posting are never worth a reference. I have little doubt that Marco or Rak could write far more compelling and educational articles, and provide a much better platform to move toward real change in how the readers would look at environmental problems a nd solutions.
      AL
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'd be willing to BET $$$$ Big Oil is padding his pockets Bcause EV's are starting to catch on and BIG OIL is Losing $$$ Every Time Someone Buys A EV ......
      Joeviocoe
      • 10 Months Ago
      Georgia had the incentive for a while... now it's expiring... as all good subsidies should.
      archos
      • 10 Months Ago
      This jackhole Martin has no business trying to regulate interstate commerce. This 1,500 Tesla limit might not sound repulsive since their sales were only 500 in Georgia last year, but it will be highly restrictive once the Model X and the Model E become available. The Feds need to step in to stop this.
        UnhappyCracker
        • 10 Months Ago
        @archos
        Lots of states have this rule... Leave it up to the states....
        • 10 Months Ago
        @archos
        I'm guessing reading comprehension isn't your friend. Have no fear, you are not alone.
      jeff
      • 10 Months Ago
      For the most part it is political pandering in GA. It is a RED state. For what ever reason the Republican party does not like EV's much.... I do find it odd that Republicans are against Tax Breaks....
        UnhappyCracker
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jeff
        If they hate them so much, how did the subsidy start in the first place? Georgia was a Red state when the subsidy started... The program has worked and it coming to an end. As a person that has taken advantage of these credit twice... I also know the subsidy help keep prices high.
          jeff
          • 10 Months Ago
          @UnhappyCracker
          They did it to get more federal highway funds originally. They did not think people would buy EV's in ant large number....
        Actionable Mango
        • 10 Months Ago
        @jeff
        "I do find it odd that Republicans are against Tax Breaks...." That's easy to flip around. I find it odd that Democrats support tax breaks for the wealthy ($5000 off a $100,000 Tesla).
      EZEE2
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is why I lean libertarian. This whole story makes my head explode (and not in that fun way after a date where she....well never mind). First, everyone is arguing about subsidies. Who gets what, how much, then from what agency. Then this person (party isn't identified so I am assuming a democrat?) talks about passing an ordinance to 'let' tesla sell 1500 cars directly in Georgia? 'Let Tesla?' Who, the effing hell, do you politicians, democrat, republican, socialist, Martian, that think it is your role to tell me what car I can buy, how many will be dolled out to the public...? Any comment by any politician, beyond, 'oh hai, why don't we pass some rules that eliminate these moronic laws that restrict an american's freedom to purchase a legally produced product' should be immediately thrown from office. 'Let Tesla sell 1500 hundred cars directly' how's about a big fat eff you.
        EZEE2
        • 10 Months Ago
        @EZEE2
        Looked it up....republican, my bad. My comments still stand. Eff him. Break down all barriers toward the sale of vehicles. Eft his 'let tesla sell' just do it.
        Marco Polo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @EZEE2
        @ EZEE2 If the government is charged with the responsibility of managing the economy, then the government must be equipped with the necessary economic power to set policy. . In this case, the same politician who instituted the incentive, ( Rep Martin ), now believes it's served its purpose, and wants the amount of the incentive, scaled back. Laissez-faire economic systems operate just as badly as heavily regulated systems. As in almost all human activity, some compromises must be accommodated. Society just doesn't operate well when run on extremist principles. There are usually two-sides, (or more), to every issue. For example, the US Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, in one way, while UK Judges, have interpreted the English Bill of Rights of 1689, ( on which the 2nd amendment was based) , very differently. As a result, US gun crime is deeply engrained in US culture, while the misuse of fire-arms is still rare in the UK. The millions of Americans who disagree with the 2nd Amendment, must recognise that the only way to repeal the amendment, is by persuading enough fellow citizens to vote for repeal, or accept the status quo. In the end, it's up to the voters (those who bother to vote) to decide which legislator to elect . Not a perfect system, but certainly better than any other.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          --" the only way to repeal the [2nd] amendment, is by persuading enough fellow citizens to vote for repeal, or accept the status quo" Not true... very few "pro-2nd amendment" folks actually know the entire wording of that amendment (even though it is one of the shortest in the entire document). As much as they accuse any "gun regulation" as fascist or communist.... "well-regulated" is right there in the 2nd amendment. All we have to do is re-interpret the first part, which has been completely ignored. Re-institute the Militia system! Gun owners don't like to be "well-regulated"... we'll see how they like being required to join a militia that could be called up for civil service by mayors and governors, and be subsequently given Title 10 orders to serve under federal law (under the President). Yes, you can keep your fully automatic assault rifles,... but you damn sure better show up for muster every month to have your stuff inspected for proper maintenance and cleanliness. And yes, you will be properly trained to use that weapon in the service of your state, regardless of how well you think you can shoot. Combat is not like hunting defenseless deer. /end rant
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe I agree, it works in Switzerland ! But since the US Supreme Court rejected the "well-regulated" interpretation, any change must come from the electoral process.
          Joeviocoe
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          In 2008, yes the SCOTUS rejected that notion by a vote of 5-4... but we won't always have the same SCOTUS.
          Marco Polo
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe Hopefully, that becomes the case.
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