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Sierra Traces State Rules Inhibiting EV Purchases Back to Fossil Funding

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Nearly 40% of U.S. states have introduced pricing schemes to penalize households that own electric vehicles. And the U.S. Sierra Club is pretty sure the fossil industry is behind the legislation.

Cleaner, greener and fun to drive, electric vehicle are, not surprisingly, rising in popularity,” writes Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of Sierra’s national EV Initiative. “We should not let the Koch brothers or Big Oil slow this momentum.”

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Already in 2017, six states—Indiana, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Tennessee—have announced fees for EV owners of up to $180 per year. Coplon-Newfield lists another dozen with fees between $50 and $300. “Georgia, formerly the state with the second-most EV sales, used to offer a tax credit of up to $5,000, but replaced the program with a $200 yearly fee that led to an 80% drop in EV sales,” she writes.

The flurry of legislation comes “at a time when EVs are just starting to take off within the larger auto industry―and it’s likely no coincidence this attack is coming now,” she adds, noting that Koch Industries is spending US$10 million per year on a campaign to promote petroleum-based transportation fuels. That effort got a boost in December 2015, with an American Legislative Exchange (ALEC) resolution to discourage EV subsidies.

“When oil tycoons consider a rise in EV drivers to be a threat to their wallets, you know EVs are taking off,” Coplon-Newfield writes. And “they’re right to be scared―between 2015 and 2016, U.S. electric vehicle sales jumped an impressive 37%.”

The HuffPo article includes tips for EV advocates talking to legislators, allies, and media.