One Ohio senator is proposing a bill that would offer as much as $3,000 a year in pre-tax benefits for people who use electric vehicles to commute to work. US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) proposed the Electric Vehicle Credit Act last week, and it's designed to spur more workers to buy plug-in vehicles. Not surprising, the act has been endorsed by the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA).

The perk would be similar to those offered to people who take public transportation to work, and would amount to as much as $250 a month. Brown is also working on an initiative that would reward companies for installing plug-in-vehicle charging stations at workplaces. The senator puts such perks in the same boat as offering employees benefits such as free parking, public-transportation allowances, and free public-transportation passes. Take a look at Senator Brown's statement here.

These perks would be over and above any federal or state incentives given to plug-in vehicle drivers for buying their cars. The US offers as much as a $7,500 in tax credits for those who buy new electric vehicles, while states such as California kick in an additional $5,000.

The merits of such programs will continue to be debated as sales of plug-in vehicles continue to advance beyond their current record-high levels. For instance, the status of state-backed perks in California, which has been at the forefront of pro-green-car initiates, has been teetering as the state government looks to further balance its budget.

As it is, Ohio has a program that offers loans or grants worth as much as 80 percent of the cost of installing facilities for "alternative" fuels. And for those keeping track, Ohio is home to 215 publicly accessible plug-in-vehicle recharging stations housing 404 plugs, according to the US Department of Energy. That equals about one charging station per 30,000 vehicles. To put that into perspective, there's one charging station per 18,000 vehicles in the country, indicating that Senator Brown has some work to do.

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