PENNSYLVANIA — State Rep. Joe Ciresi (D-Montgomery) introduced a package of bills Friday to help make hybrid and electric vehicles more accessible and affordable to more Pennsylvanians. At a time when more Americans are citing gas prices as a reason that they are considering purchasing hybrid or electric vehicles, Ciresi said his bills would help target the cost barriers that prevent broader adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles.
The five-bill package would:
- Create an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Purchase Rebate Program to provide residents of Pennsylvania with rebates for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles. This rebate of 6% of the vehicle’s total purchase price would effectively refund the state sales tax, up to a maximum rebate amount of $3,000.
- Make the state’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate Program permanent, double rebate amounts offered under the Program, and add hybrid vehicles as an eligible vehicle type.
- Help residents with the one-time costs of electric vehicle charger installation, expanding access by reducing a barrier to at-home charging, by establishing an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Tax Credit. This tax credit would be up to $750 for the installation of a Level 1 charging port and $4,000 for the installation of a Level 2 charging port.
- Establish a five-year Green Vehicle Pilot Program. Applicants who own green vehicles, which include electric and hybrid vehicles, would receive an EZ-Pass account credit from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would be eligible for a $200 account credit, and hybrid electric vehicles would be eligible for a $100 account credit.
- Waive the state vehicle registration fee for certain new and leased motor vehicles with an estimated average city fuel economy of at least 40 miles per gallon for the first two years of the vehicle’s registration.
Ciresi said the plan would help people save money in times of high gas prices and reduce overall gasoline demand. Expanding the use of alternative fuel vehicles also would reduce emissions and toxic contaminants entering the atmosphere, helping the environment and improving public health.
“When gas prices rise like we saw earlier this year, fuel-efficient vehicles help Pennsylvanians save money,” Ciresi said. “This legislative package is intended to make hybrid and electric vehicles more affordable for middle class Pennsylvanians, expanding access to better fuel economy to more drivers. These fuel-efficient vehicles can play a role in providing Pennsylvanians relief at the pump, and these initiatives can provide those savings now and in the long term.”
Public-private partnership has already proven to be a help to the electric car industry, Ciresi said. The battery technologies in nearly all electric vehicles were created with support from the federal Energy Department, which also played a key role in the development of today’s lithium-ion batteries. The Pennsylvania departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection have also been working to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout Pennsylvania.
“Electric vehicles are no longer a concept for the future,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. “As electric vehicles become more prominent on our roads, we should work to relieve the cost barriers that prevent many from seeing the benefits of this new technology, while ensuring that our state and citizens have the infrastructure needed to not be left out.”
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