While the latest electric vehicle tax credits help auto manufacturers, it will take much more to save the industry from recent challenges. The automotive industry is at a tipping point, with a growing focus on sustainability and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a preferred solution to combat climate change, and governments worldwide are taking steps to incentivize their production and adoption. Companies are responding by pivoting their production lines to focus on EVs – Tesla has become one of the largest companies in the world producing electric cars and domestic stalwarts like GM have announced a total conversion to EVs in their business plans. Government subsidies and tax credits are a significant driver of this strong company pivot.
Subsidies, or financial incentives provided by governments, are a key driving force behind EV production. Subsidies can take various forms, such as direct payments, grants, or discounts on purchase prices; they are designed to make EVs more affordable and competitive compared to traditional gas powered vehicles. In particular, the new tax credits that took effect on April 18th, 2023, are focused on reducing the cost for the end consumer to drive EV demand.
The new electric vehicle tax credits offer up to $7,500 to consumers who purchase a new eligible EVs. Unfortunately for consumers, the range of EVs meeting the regulatory criteria for the credit is narrow. Only a handful of models currently comply with the regulations around where the batteries and parts are sourced. Furthermore, a majority of the vehicles receiving credits are both expensive and in limited supply. The irony is that the funding for these tax credits comes from the Inflation Reduction Act. Rather than helping the inflation-impacted consumer, these subsidies for EVs are more likely to stimulate spending, making it harder for the Fed to reign in the economy. Furthermore, given the prices of the EVs right now, the subsidies will mostly be utilized by individuals with above average incomes – the population least impacted by inflation.
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