Third Hearing Held for Electric Vehicle Financial Incentives Bill

Testimony on a bill that would create tax incentives for plug in electric vehicles and infrastructure was heard in the Ohio Senate yesterday. The Senate Ways and Means Committee heard testimony from both proponents and opponents of the bill.

SB 257 would authorize incentives for purchases of electric vehicles: a $500 sales tax credit for the purchase of one electric vehicle for personal use; a $1,000 sales tax credit per unit for up to 10 electric vehicles to be used for commercial use; and a $1,500 sales tax credit for construction of charging stations for personal and commercial use. The incentives would expire after five years. Clean Fuels Ohio testified in favor of the legislation in February and continues to be supportive of the bill, but would like to see the amounts of the credit be significantly higher.

The Ohio Environmental Council is also supportive of the bill.

“Incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) will help jump start Ohio’s efforts to accelerate EV adoption which will reduce air pollution coming from the transportation sector and improve public health outcomes,” testified Randi Leppla, Vice President of Energy Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council. “Ohio has the opportunity to become a leader in the EV manufacturing industry, making SB 257 an important component of economic recovery in the midst of the corona virus pandemic.”

The Senate Ways and Means committee is tasked with hearing bills related to taxation and the means to generate revenue for the state to fund operations. Tax policy typically intersects with energy policy when newer, commercially viable technologies emerge. This is done as a to allow these technologies to enter a very competitive market. Additionally, the emergence of Lordstown Motors, a manufacturer of electric vehicles established in the Mahoning Valley area has demonstrated a need to help spur the local EV market.

“Government incentives should not be directed towards competitive technologies that have reached commercial scale,” commented Chris Zeigler, Executive Director for the American Petroleum Institute- Ohio. “EVs are no longer nascent technology in need of government incentives.” API- Ohio testified in opposition to the bill.

The Ohio Legislature is due to go on summer break next week until after the election in November. It is expected that SB 257 will resume hearings until session ends at the end of December, 2020.

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