SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - When 2016 comes to an end so will Utah's tax credit for electric vehicles.
Clean air advocates fear that could be a big blow to efforts to cut down emissions that contribute to a majority of our winter air pollution.
More and more Utahns are choosing to go electric and it's easy to understand why. Not only are electric vehicles good for the environment, they're 100% emission free, through state and federal tax credits they're becoming more and more affordable.
"This car is so unbelievably inexpensive to operate," said Josh Edson of Tim Dahle Nissan Murry of the Nissan Leaf. "From a fuel standpoint it's about a 9 to 1 savings vs gasoline. From a maintenance standpoint it's about a 9 to 1 savings vs gasoline. With the incentives both from Nissan and federal and state it's almost...it can almost pencil out to be almost a net free car for people."
But Edson fears that could soon change. At the end of 2016 the state tax credits for electric vehicles are set to expire. That's anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 that can really make a difference for some buyers.
"That's money that helps people adopt these cars and I think it's a really big deal," said Edson.
Utah Clean Energy also thinks it's a big deal. The group is working with Representative Steve Handy on a new bill to get the state tax credits extended through 2021.
"It's a small market, it's a good investment to really kick start and keep the small market of electric vehicle technologies, keep that growing," said Kevin Emerson with Utah Clean Energy.
Not only would House Bill 29 extend the tax credits it would go a step further and actually allow those tax credits to be transferred to the dealer or financing entity. Emerson said, "So the dealer can then pass the value of that tax credit as an upfront rebate and we think, as we've seen in other states, we think that will help encourage even more businesses and homeowners to invest in these kind of clean vehicles."
House Bill 29 doesn't just look to extend tax credits for electric vehicles, but plug-in hybrid cars and compressed natural gas vehicles as well. The bill has already passed the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee. It will be before the full House this next legislative session.
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