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Maryland should stop subsidizing costly electric cars

The plan could lift state rebates from $2,500 to $10,000 or more for a compact electric car. (Aug. 28, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here http://bit.ly/2n6VKPR)

Scott Dance recently reported on the popularity of Maryland’s generous electric vehicle rebate (“Maryland’s electric vehicle rebate is so popular it ran out of money even before the fiscal year began on July 1,” July 8). It’s so popular that within the first week of the new fiscal year, which started July 1, all the rebates promised for the entire year are gone.

Where are those rebates going? Affluent, environmentally-conscious consumers who are likely to purchase an electric vehicle regardless of the subsidy. Maryland’s own data shows that the tax credit has benefited an extremely narrow demographic that includes individuals making over $100,000. Why not tax credits for vehicle owners who fail the vehicle emissions test and need expensive repairs?

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Millions have been spent on EV incentives, and Maryland’s data points to a failed program. In the rush to tilt the market to electric vehicles, Maryland is favoring vehicle owners who pay no motor fuel tax, which funds the state’s transportation trust fund.

The rest of Marylanders are left footing the bill for infrastructure. Just as the owners and operators of gasoline and diesel vehicles pay for the upkeep of roads and bridges through fuel excise taxes, it’s critical for EV owners and operators to also pay their fair share of these costs.

Subsidies for electric vehicles provide a temporary sales jolt. In other states, we have seen that trend does not last and creates long-term inequities in the marketplace. Focusing on programs that promote electric vehicle sales neglects funding for the ongoing needs for Maryland’s bridges and roads. All vehicles should compete for consumers in a free marketplace.

Marylanders would purchase the vehicles without the prod of subsidies, as demonstrated by the long waiting lists for subsidies even after the car has been driven off the dealer’s lot. There should be an equitable marketplace for all technologies and all consumers. Maryland’s infrastructure is suffering so that a small group of people can benefit from EV subsidies.

Ellen Valentino, Annapolis

The writer is executive vice president of the Maryland Petroleum Distributors Association.

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