Senator wants to pull the plug on electric vehicle credits

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) says owners of electric vehicles need to pony up some money to help fix America’s infrastructure.

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“Our bridges, our highways are in disrepair ... the work needs to be done and there’s an agreement that it has to be paid for,” he told FOX Business' David Asman during "Varney & Co." “Well, right now those sorts of constructions are done through the Highway Trust Fund, which is paid for through gasoline taxes. Electric vehicles don’t pay anything into that trust fund because they don’t use any gasoline.”

Barrasso says that’s just not fair.

"They ought to be pulling their own weight when it comes to the fact that repairs need to be done and those that use the roads ought to be paying for it."

- Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

“Otherwise, they’re doing damage and have a free ride asking those people in gas-powered vehicles to pay more and more and more," Sen. Barrasso said.

Barrasso is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which approved a $287 billion infrastructure repair bill in July. He feels significant amounts of money can be raised through a two-pronged proposal for electric vehicles.

“One is not to provide subsidies for these very expensive, luxury vehicles, like Maseratis,” he said. “[And] I am recommending they charge a user’s fee, comparable to what people who use gasoline in their vehicles pay on average.”

That fee would be paid when the owner files his or her tax return.

Critics are blasting Barrasso’s call to end electric vehicle tax credits. They say the $2,500 to $7,500 incentive for buying an electric vehicle won’t provide much revenue for Washington at all. They cite a Congressional Research Service report that found in 2016 just 57,000 taxpayers applied for the plug-in credits, totaling $375 million.

However, the point may soon be moot. The credits are already going away for some buyers since the current law phases them out for purchases from carmakers who have sold 200,000 electric vehicles. Tesla and GM have already reached that threshold.

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But the legislation has been proposed in Congress that would extend those credits or even repeal the phase-out.