In One Fell Swoop, GA Senate EndsTax Credits, Introduces $200 Annual Fee for Electric Cars

For the past few years, the southern state of Georgia has enjoyed a position at or near the top of electric vehicle sales charts, aided by enthusiastic salespeople and a generous $5,000 in state tax credits to each and every citizen buying an electric car. Combined with up to $7,500 in federal tax credits, this has meant for some time that buying an all-electric car in Georgia has been as cheap — if not cheaper in some situations — than buying a comparable gasoline vehicle.

"GeorgiaCapitolBuilding" by w:en:User:Autiger - w:en:Image:GeorgiaCapitolBuilding.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

“GeorgiaCapitolBuilding” by w:en:User:Autiger – w:en:Image:GeorgiaCapitolBuilding.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

But as we’ve been reporting for many months now, Georgia’s generous electric car incentives have been under attack from several of its elected officials in the legislature who have argued that tax credits for those wealthy enough to buy an expensive plug-in car simply aren’t fair. As a consequence, we’ve seen a barrage of bills introduced that aim to dramatically change or even eliminate those incentives forever.

Until last week, not a single bill had succeeded in passing the legislature, with many dying on the house floor or running out of time before the end of a legislative session. Last week, that changed when HB170 — the Transportation Funding Act of 2015 — was passed by both houses and sent to the desk of Republican Governor Nathan Deal.

As the Atlanta Electric Vehicle Development Coalition details, HB170 — a bill primarily focused with helping the state of Georgia pay for the maintenance and upkeep of its crumbling road infrastructure — would bring into effect some rather sweeping changes should it be signed into law. Firstly, it would end the current $5,000 state tax credit for electric cars on July 1 this year while simultaneously implementing a new $200 per year license fee for anyone with an alternative-fuelled car. Those with commercial alternative-fuelled vehicles will pay $300 per year.

Georgia's tax credits for electric cars will end on July 1 if HB170 is signed into law.

Georgia’s tax credits for electric cars will end on July 1 if HB170 is signed into law.

While the bill officially defines an alternative fuelled vehicle as one which is powered by electricity, natural gas or propane, it then says that the new fees ‘shall not be asses on vehicles which operate primarily on compressed natural gas, liquified natural gas, or liquified petroleum gas.’

And that, as the attentive will note, leaves just electric vehicles as being liable for the new registration fees. s

It would also replace the sales tax currently levied on gasoline and diesel fuel in the state with an excise tax of 24 cents per gallon on distributors who sell or use motor fuel within the state.  In addition, it would end a tax credit which has been in place for more than ten years on aviation fuel, which was put into place to aid the then bankrupt Delta Airways and has helped encourage airlines to use Atlanta, Georgia as an international hub.

While the bill did pass the Senate and is now on the desk of Governor Deal — who has publicly stated his support for the bill — it’s worth noting however that passing HB170 wasn’t easy.

During its pass through both houses, HB 170 and its various amendments have faced some pretty tough opposition, both from sides of aisle.

Even its final vote — 29 to 25 with 2 excused — was a close call.

Sadly however, HB 170, unlike the various other bills introduced to the legislature which proposed a gradual reduction of plug-in incentives in the state, is the only one to have made it through the Assembly and Senate on its way to the Governor’s desk. Now, its passage into law seems somewhat inevitable.

So if you’re a Georgia resident looking to buy a plug-in car and want the $5,000 tax credit, you’ve got a few months left to act before the credits expire on July 1.


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  • dm33

    Major win by the oil and gas companies. All of their fuels are somehow except, only electric ends up paying. Get rid of tax credit meant to reduce pollution. What a short sited, corrupt political system enshrined by unlimited campaign contributions (bribes). Surprised they didn’t pass a tax credit on gas vehicles, maybe another Hummer tax credit.

    • lad76

      You hit it out of the park; the oil lobby is active in all state houses and fights to maintain the current status quo. The sad part of this is the money doesn’t really go to rich people who buy high priced electric cars. The money is a passthrough to the car makers that allows them to charge a higher price for an innovative electric car design to offset their development costs and to accelerate our transition from dirty gas and diesel cars to clean transportation. Georgia politicians have again been sold or bought out by Big Oil on short term results instead of long term benefits.

  • vdiv

    This should be challenged in courts, if the state can levy an annual $200 fee on alternative fueled vehicles, then they should levy the same fee on all vehicles. Note that this fee will impact alt. fuel vehicles already sold as well.nnAt 12,000 miles/yr and avg of 24 mpg a gas car would use 500 gal./yr * $0.24nn would yield $120 in excise revenue, hardly the same as $200 or $300 in registration fees.

    • Indeed. With the termination of the EV Credit, the additional sales tax on the more expensive EV’s could be applied to road maintenance.nnThe EV purchaser will pay more than the average amount of sales tax, *and* be asked to pay a fee which by itself is more than the total paid by a the average gasoline vehicle owner.nnThe fairer system would be to levy a mileage tax to all vehicles rather than collect any fuel taxes at all. If you tax the fuel or vehicle type there will always be inequalities, with mileage, all is equal.

      • vdiv

        Yes. I would add the GVWR to the mileage to calculate the road tax. Heavier vehicles arguably use the roads more.

    • Susan Gyunn

      Excellent point! I will end up paying 3 to 4 times more in taxes with the $200 fee on my leaf than I do on my SUV.

      • Robert Smart

        Don’t worry price of electric car batteries has already dropped to $300 per kWh from $1,000 per kWh This was not expected till 2020. EV manufacturing costs will plummet till they are cheaper than ICE (age) cars, then they will crucify the competition and our cities will be clean and green:)

    • Perhaps someone should have challenged giving credits for only some vehicles and not all of them then. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

      • vdiv

        My personal view is that EVs can stand on their own merits, however for the benefit of all of us their introduction was encouraged by the gov’t. Are you saying that the gov’t should encourage the status quo when it comes down to the current unsustainable and polluting form of transportation?

        • If they could stand on their own merits, they would. The truth is in a free market scenario they would not make it. It’s not the government’s job to pick winners and losers in the car market or any other.

          • vdiv

            Well, as you can see with the GA example it is not a free market and the gov’t does get to pick winners and losers often at the detriment of the people it is supposed to represent.

  • Decke003

    Am I missing something? GA HB170 has not been passed according to GA Legislature’s own website. Its current status is that both the House and Senate have both passed different versions of the bill, and they still have not reached a consensus. The tax credit is very likely going to end this July, but as of now, this story is a bit premature.nn

  • Decke003

    As a Leaf owner myself, I recognize that the $200 tax on EVs is necessary since we do not pay transportation taxes through gas… because we don’t buy gas.nnI do wish they would keep the EV tax credit in some form, however. They should have just made it less beneficial to lessees.

    • John Smith

      No tax is “necessary”.

      • Decke003

        Let me try to reword that better…nnThe $200 tax on EVs is necessary to acquire the revenue lost by no longer having an ICE paying transportation tax during the purchase of gasoline.nnI am all for reducing government spending, but infrastructure is one of the very few areas that actually need additional funding… especially in Georgia.

        • anderlan

          Have you thought this through AT ALL? We went from EV bonus to EV PENALTY. It’s a PENALTY. It’s WORSE than other vehicles.

          • Decke003

            It is a flat rate usage tax. What is the big surprise? It turns out that roads are not free to build and maintain. Once EVs become the norm, a tax of this sort was bound to happen in some form. I for one am glad to see it in this form than in some government installed mileage monitoring device. nnPlus, we still have the benefit of not having to pay federal gas taxes, county gas taxes (part of the new law), or emissions testing… among all of the other benefits of owning an EV that thousands and thousands of owners now know thanks to the time we did have the credit. nnMaybe I’m just too positive though…

        • Robert Smart

          There are so few battery electric vehicles on the road that the loss of revenue from them not paying road tax is negligible. There is a huge resistance to adopting a new technology, my daughter & husband in Augusta bought a Kia Optima, if they had bought a Nissan Leaf the Federal and State Governments would have ponied up $12,500 towards the price of their new car, but they passed on the donation, they didn’t even visit a Nissan dealer to test drive a Leaf? Incentives are essential! (Nissan would also have paid their recharging at charge points for 2 years!!!) You can still get the state tax credit before July 1 2015, go for it if you’re in the market for a new car:)

    • anderlan

      It’s more than any other vehicle pays including gas taxes. Educate yourself before you bend over and take it harder than anyone else. Sheep. You’re why this passed. Thanks, brainiac masochist.

      • Decke003

        Okay, I educated myself…. nnnState Tax: $0.26/gal nFederal Tax: $18.4/galnAnnual Miles Driven: 15,000nGas Car MPG: 30nnTotal Annual Gas Taxes: $222nnIn my case at lease, I am still saving money.nnI did write letters to my reps, but obviously that wasn’t enough. Now that it is passed, there is no reason to cry over spilled milk. I prefer to count my blessings.nnI am sorry that this upsets you so much.

    • Heath

      anderlan was a little harsh, but I agree. Dude, you’re bending over and taking it. There are only 5 states who apply a similar fee to EVs, and the highest is $100/yr. The short-sighted morons “representing” us just DOUBLED that. For someone driving 12k miles/yr it’s the tax equivalent of a gas-guzzling 15mpg. And for someone like me that drives my EV closer to 8k miles/yr I’m getting taxed as if I’m driving an RV around Atlanta!! Let that soak in, and if you’re still not angry, then I pity you.

      • Decke003

        Unless you plan on leaving the state (assuming you are in GA), we are both bending over and taking it. nnI expressed my grievances to my reps before the vote, but it has passed and there is nothing we can do about it… at least until next legislative session. nnAll I am saying is that we need to have some perspective. The tax credit was gravy, and it sucks that it is gone, but owning an EV is still a good deal without it. nnThe gas tax is a downer, but it was inevitable in some form. I also think your numbers are not telling the whole story. Including federal gas taxes (which we still don’t pay), a 30 mpg car driving 12k a year would pay $177.6 annually. Throw in an emissions inspection, and you are over the $200 bucks that we have to pay. nnIt really isn’t that bad. nnnBecause of the credit, 25,000 people in GA got to experience EV ownership that might have never consider it. 2nd Gen EVs are only a couple years out with better range and more competitive price points. nnThe future of EVs is still bright.

  • jeffsongster

    I can see changing the rebate and fee structures to eliminate the credit for rich folks… I can even see a fee to help maintain roads. Pay our fair share. But there is a large societal benefit to moving away from petroleum… and these folks sound like they are missing that point completely.

    • anderlan


      • jeffsongster

        Because most of these Republicans are deeply in the deep pockets of big oil and the Koch Bros. When these states exorcise the republican evil from their legislatures… their laws will make more sense to their citizens.

  • John Smith

    My electric car in Georgia is primarily fueled by coal. Green baby (cough)!

    • anderlan

      Troll lobbyist for old tech.nnMy power for my EV is cheaper at night because it uses fuel that would have otherwise been wasted as heat keeping a generator at non-peak efficiency, like a gas car at a stop light. EVs (and batteries generally) make the entire energy ecosystem so much more efficient that it threatens huge business models. Witness this law as blowback against them. Witness the lobbyist trolls here.

    • Robert Smart

      There’s enough electricity to power all the electric cars in the USA if you just stop refining gasoline? Refining gasoline requires huge amounts of electricity from the grid. Gasoline has to be slowly transported to Georgia using fuel tankers that burn gasoline. A battery electric vehicle’s engine is way more efficient than an ICE engine and the batteries get their charging power over power lines, even in your own home, at the speed of light, without clogging up the roads & burning gas.

      • Robert Smart

        Why use electricity to refine oil into gasoline which then has to be transported to fuel stations in tankers & stored in underground tanks when you could just connect the grid to charge points which charge the batteries of the more efficient electric cars as required?n(No gasoline transport required)nHydrogen also has a delivery problem and uses lots of electricity to produce. It has the additional problem of being difficult to transport and decant into special tanks at the servo at 10,000 psi!!! Good luck with sitting on a 10,000 psi carbon/kevlar/epoxy hydrogen tank, a terrorists dream come true in a crowded city street!!!

  • Guest

    I will not be at peace until oil and gas are utterly destroyed. The idea that EVs would not only lose their tax incentive, but lose it IMMEDIATELY without any phasing out, and the idea that they not only pay their fair share but be PENALIZED with heavier total of fees than other but the largest freighters. The idea of the power required to push back on progress this abusively. MY GOD I WILL NOT REST UNTIL OIL AND GAS IS IN RUIN AND I DANCE UPON ITS GRAVE.

    • Robert Smart

      Go for it, be my hero!!!

  • William King

    GA has been very generous in providing electric car owners a $5,000 credit – in addition to the Federal credit of $7,500 – though it did so at the expense of it own state employees who were provided with no cost-of-living adjustment (raises) to their salaries for 5 years in a row!!! Amazing!

  • Greg Penno

    Why encourage something that is better for humanity? Why care about the health of our kids or the environment? Don’t change out of fear, I will give you a hug if you are scared.

  • Robert Smart

    Just because you’re earning enough to benefit from the GA state tax credit on a battery electric car doesn’t mean you are wealthy!!! Any elected officials who espouse such faulty logic should kicked out of the state legislature!

  • Ben

    I see many comparisons here for the avg driver. I have a vintage vehicle which I converted to electric that sees about 2000 miles per year. At $200, I am paying 10 times what I would in gas tax. Also, my electric motorcycle is being billed another $200 even though it is much less harmful to the roads than an automobile or truck. For some reason, the hundreds of golf carts that clog the roads in my area at 16 mph, are exempt, as they do not require a license plate. I would think that these four wheelers are more destructive than a motorcycle as well. And what of the tax that we pay on our electricity bill. I spoke with GA Power and was told that the electricity charges on the bill include 7% tax along with the host of listed fees for nuclear and environmental bla bla. Gasoline is taxed at a rate lower than Diesel. Isn’t this just the case of electricity being taxed at a rate lower than Gasoline? And in reality aren’t ev’s damaging the roads to a lesser degree the ice’s anyway. I also have a solar powered van which I have been experimenting with over the years. It is insured and tagged but has not been out of the garage for two yearsu2026another $200 for zero road wear and tear. I have been keeping it tagged and insured because it has been fairly cheap and wanted to avoid the hassle of starting and stopping insurance etc. It looks now as if I should turn in the tag and cancel the insurance until I am ready to drive it full time.

  • Mike F

    Another twist that has been downgraded is the $200.00 tax is levied on hybrids as well. I just received my tax renewal and I own a VW Jetta Hybrid. The $200.00 tax was included on my bill as well. How is this even somewhat fair. I pay the taxes at the pump for fuel and get levied the $200.00 tax annually. Looks like the fossel fuel lobbyist are alive and well in Georgia. I agree that we all need to pay our share to keep the roadways in a driveable condition. But I don’t like paying an extra share.

    • Zoe

      Totally agree. It is unreasonable to qualify hybrid car at this point and charge us the tax. How come the hybrid car cannot get any tax credit but need to pay for the annual fee? Totally unfair!