While lots of good reports come out of the Congressional Budget Office, their latest analysis about the impact of the federal tax credit for buyers of plug-in cars was off the mark. While measuring the dollar impact of the tax credit, they're clearly not calculating the benefits to the country (and to Michigan!) of developing a less-polluting, cheaper-to-operate car that creates jobs in America and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
Of course, the blogosphere went nuts with the chance to once again call EVs in question (remember those hyped-up stories about battery fires?). But while we disagree with the overall tone of the coverage we saw, at least the blog post from the Wall Street Journal included this key disclaimer:
"The CBO balances its downbeat analysis by suggesting that long-term, the tax credits could have an effect on gasoline consumption if future fuel economy standards are made more ambitious by the success of electric cars, or the electric car business becomes 'self sustaining'."
Well, one of the most important factors in making the electric-vehicle industry self-sustaining will be the technological advances and economies of scale that are encouraged by consumer tax incentives.
In response to the CBO report, the Electric Drive Transportation Association said: the "CBO's illustrations do show that tax incentives can help move electric drive into the mainstream and reduce gasoline use and emissions, while growing the industry. A strong public-private investment in the emerging electric drive industry can provide important energy security, economic and environmental benefits to the U.S."
That makes a lot more sense to us than the drumbeat of negativity we keep seeing in the media. After all, they've been wrong before.
Until next time,
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center