Incentives are working in other states, so why not Michigan?

Dear Reader,

You don’t have to look too far around the country to see that lots of other states are offering rebates to owners of plug-in cars, with very clear results in higher sales.

A couple of weeks ago, we saw a report on InsideEVs that said that Illinois has more than 12,000 electric vehicles on the road, based on how many owners collected on the state’s 10 percent rebate of the purchase price, up to $4,000. (The photo is of a Nissan Leaf using a charger at the Illinois governor's mansion in Springfield.)

Using some fuzzy math, the column pointed out that if all 50 states had 12,000 plug-in vehicles, we’d have 600,000 on the road already, compared to the actual number of around 200,000. It’s fuzzy because Illinois is larger than most states, with a lot more vehicles. But still, that’s a lot of cars. (Last time we looked, Michigan had only about 5,000 electric vehicles on our roads—we’re working on getting a better number for a future edition of this newsletter.)

Other states are going with incentives to stimulate sales. Texas is about to launch a $2,500 rebate program for owners of plug-in cars, and at the end of April, Maryland’s legislature passed a bill to increase their rebate from $1,000 to $3,000 and extend it through June 2017.

California legislators just voted $25 million more for their California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which sends new-car buyers a rebate check of $2,500 for zero-emission vehicles or $1,500 for plug-in hybrids.

Why not in Michigan? Currently the state doesn’t provide any incentive to stimulate sales of plug-in vehicles. That’s despite the fact that Michigan would benefit more than any other state from the growth of this industry.

Bottom line? Incentives work. Perhaps we should take another look at what our counterparts are doing around country. Meanwhile, we can at least be grateful that other states are helping to grow Michigan’s EV industry.

Thanks for all you do.

Charles Griffith
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center