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Senate panel restores WVa electric car tax credit

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 22, 2013 at 3:42 pm •  Published: March 22, 2013

West Virginia environmental groups and the West Virginia Coal Association — not normally allies — both opposed eliminating the tax credits.

With the state budget tight — tax collections for the current year could be $70 million below expectations — Tomblin's administration said they would not accept the committee's version of the bill.

Rob Alsop, Tomblin's chief of staff, said the administration "won't live with those" changes and will work to replace them as the bill progresses.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said that the committee's bill would negate most of next year's $10 million projected savings, although compared to current law it would lead to savings a few years down the road. Muchow also said that West Virginia's tax credits are among the most lucrative of their kind in the country.

The bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.

The tax credits have been used to offset the higher price of plug-in cars, which tend to be more expensive, but require little to no gas and emit almost no pollutants.

The extent to which plug-in electric cars are more environmentally friendly varies. In West Virginia, which gets most of its electricity from coal, natural gas or wind, a plug-in electric has a carbon footprint equivalent to a traditional car that gets 42 miles per gallon, according to a 2012 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Tomblin's bill and the committee's version end all the tax credits in 2017. The current breaks stop in 2021.

There are currently federal tax credits of $7,500 for electric cars, up to $7,500 for plug-in hybrids and $4,000 for natural gas-fueled cars.