Lamar Alexander Wants More Tax Credits for Electric Cars, Despite Opposition from Donald Trump


U.S. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is co-sponsoring a bill that would extend tax credits for electric car manufacturers, according to Green Car Reports.

This, despite Republican U.S. President Donald Trump wanting to do away with them.

As The Tennessee Star reported in February, research shows manufacturers of electric cars wouldn’t make a tidy profit in a pure free market system because, at least right now, there isn’t enough demand for that product.

So that’s why government gets involved.

According to Green Car Reports, this legislation has many sponsors, Republican and Democrat.

“The Driving America Forward Act counts among its key sponsors Michigan Democrats Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Tennessee establishment-Republican Lamar Alexander and Maine Republican-centrist Susan Collins. Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee signaled his support in the House as well. Automakers including General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Tesla, Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, and Volkswagen have supported the effort,” according to the website.

“Unlike partisan Democratic proposals that would simply extend the tax credit for 10 years for all automakers, before ending them abruptly, the Driving America Forward Act would boost all automakers’ available credits from 200,000 (which Tesla and GM have already surpassed) to 600,000, but lower the amount on the last 400,000 credits to $7,000, rather than $7,500. Tesla saw a dramatic drop in sales in the first quarter of 2018 after the tax credits on its cars was cut in half, despite lowering prices.”

As The Tennessee Star reported, state officials have given Volkswagen some type of concessions to compel the company to build electric cars in Chattanooga.

As Nashville Public Radio reported, state officials spent years pitching the state as Volkswagen’s best choice for an electric car manufacturing facility.

As The Tennessee Star reported last fall, former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen said in 2010 that during the coming decade we’d see a surge of electric vehicles on the state’s roads and highways.

So certain of it, he handed out $2.5 million in government money to encourage people to buy EVs — the Nissan Leaf only, manufactured in Smyrna.

Now that the decade is nearly out, evidence indicates Bredesen was no visionary.

In 2018 the Daily Caller reported EVs aren’t popular and only people with six-figure incomes generally have them.

As reported in 2015, Tennessee had 2,568 registered EVs on the road.

In three years, that number has increased, slightly, to 3,735 EVs. Davidson County, meanwhile, currently has 746 registered EVs, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Also, as The Star reported last fall, taxpayers have paid millions of dollars to help electric vehicle manufacturers not only get their products out on the road but also furnish electric car charging stations all over Nashville.

Prior reporting shows few people around Nashville appear to use these charging stations.

Yet officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Nashville Electric Service expect more and more Nashville drivers will soon take up the habit of driving electric cars.

They’re preparing a study to gauge how Nashvillians can best prepare.

According to a press release, FleetCarma, TVA, the NES, and the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation are launching something called SmartCharge Nashville.

The statement says people interested in buying EVs wonder how far they can drive before they need a charge. Utilities also need to prepare for more EVs on the road, the release said.

SmartCharge is supposed to help with both of those things.

Tennessee Watchdog reported in 2011 that most consumers have no desire to own an EV because they cost more than traditional vehicles and can only travel 100 miles before they need a recharge.

In 2013, Tennessee Watchdog, for several hours, monitored some of Nashville’s nearly 600 electric charging stations at three destinations – the Loveless Café, the Brentwood Public Library, and the Nashville Airport Marriott.

Not a single person showed up to use any one of them.

The private firm ECO-tality paid half of the $230-million costs to deploy those electric chargers in 21 cities throughout nine states, including Tennessee. Federal taxpayers paid the balance.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Background Photo Photo “Electric Cars Charging”  by Felix Kramer. CC BY-SA 2.0.






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9 Thoughts to “Lamar Alexander Wants More Tax Credits for Electric Cars, Despite Opposition from Donald Trump”

  1. […] The Tennessee Star reported this month, Alexander is co-sponsoring a bill that would extend tax credits for electric car manufacturers. […]

  2. Brit

    Lamar is suffer the effects of Global Warning so bad that he is full of “HOT AIR”. Why do we need to extend tax credits for electric car manufacturers? The dealers of these cars will tell you that the demand is zero for these cars. Tennessee Star should do a survey with Nissan to see how many Leaf’s (Nissan Electric Car) are setting on the lot in the Nashville Area. Lamar the issue is not Climate Change it is advancement of Socialist in the United States. Get on board with POTUS and the Conservative GOP not AOC and her bunch of Socialist Nitwits.

  3. William R. Delzell

    I have a better idea: let’s have a tax credit for public mass transportation. Electric cars are good,but they don’t address gridlock and traffic congestion any more than the conventional car does. Producing too many of these cars not only leads to the same congestion but also to the same amount of pollution and needless space-consuming superhighways and parking lots. We need to emphasize the transport of people instead of only for vehicles.

    1. 83ragtop50

      There is already a HUGE subsidy for public transportation. It sucks up all kinds of tax dollars while providing rides for only a few. I suggest that the gas tax be returned to its pre-IMPROVE level so we tax payers get a break.

  4. Kevin

    Yes, Lamar needs to go, BUT, each and every Tennessean needs to take a long look in the mirror. We voted this clown in term after term! He’s been a left wing nut job since being tapped as Secretary of the Department of Education, probably longer!

    We need to pay better attention to these politicians and “excise” them from the political environment as soon as they start to go off the rails! And certainly we can’t give them “promotions” when they try to move up. We did a great job with former Rep. Black, we need to do it again IF former Governor “Gas Tax” Bill Haslam tries to get to DC.

    1. 83ragtop50

      I sure as heck did not vote for him.

  5. Mary

    So, give tax breaks to electric car owners and raise gasoline taxes for the rest of the people. Doesn’t quite make sense. This guy needs to go, NOW!

  6. 83ragtop50

    Goofy Lamar strikes again. I wonder where the money trail might lead?
    Why doesn’t this buffoon just quit?