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State cannot afford to subsidize cars

Running cars on natural gas or coal - be it through electricity or a coal-derived liquid fuel - is something the state should encourage if only to reduce dependency on oil from the Middle East.

In 2011, the state began offering tax credits for plug-in electric vehicles and other alternative-fuel vehicles. Tax credits were up to $7,500 for a car and $25,000 for a truck.

The tax credits are proving expensive. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin now wants to end the incentive to save the state $10 million next year.

"There was not a fiscal note done on this section of this bill," said Amy Shuler Goodwin, spokeswoman for the governor. "We didn't know what the financial impact would be."

The credit would remain in place temporarily for vehicles that run on natural gas, propane and butane but would be phased out for them as well in 2017, rather than in 2021 as originally planned.   

A state that is cutting many agency budgets by 7.5 percent cannot afford to pay people to buy a car or a truck, no matter how noble the reason. 


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