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Out of Control Policy Blog

Pull the Plug on Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Baruch Feigenbaum
March 19, 2013, 9:59pm

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published my op-ed against subsidizing electric vehicle charging stations.

In summary, the city of Atlanta is using federal subsidies to install electric vehicle car-charging stations. This may sound like a good way to invest in the future. Unfortunately, there are several significant problems with this taxpayer supported subsidy.  

First, electric vehicles in GA are not cleaner than traditional gas-powered vehicles. Most electricity in Georgia is generated by coal power, which produces far more carabon dioxide than gas engines. And the lithium batteries, which power most electric vehicles, requires mining lithium. The negative environmental consequences of mining lithium far outwiegh any positive benefits from operating electric vehicles. 

Electric vehicles are used mostly by the wealthy. For example, the average income of a Chevrolet Volt owner is $170,000. The only automaker whose customers have a higher income is Mercedes-Benz. Why are taxpayers subsidizing new cars for the rich who can already afford them?

And even with the subsidy auto sales are not exactly taking off. Ford sells more F-Series pickups in a year than Chevrolet sells Volts and Nissan sells Leafs combined in a year. The combined federal and Georgia subsidy of up to $15,000 cannot make customers but a product they do not want. 

The complete op-ed is available here.


Baruch Feigenbaum is Transportation Policy Analyst


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