The transportation sector is the largest source of climate pollution in New York, representing 34-percent of the state’s greenhouse gas portfolio. Emissions from gasoline and diesel powered vehicles in New York are equal to the total carbon dioxide output from all sources in the state of Maryland. New York’s climate and clean energy commitments require the state’s transportation sector to transition completely away from the use of fossil fuels to a system powered by clean, renewable electricity by the year 2050.
There are over 11 million cars and light-duty trucks registered in New York State, roughly 25,000 of which are electric vehicles. While seemingly well intentioned, this bill is a turn in the wrong direction. As written, the legislation provides financial incentives for the purchase of vehicles that, in some instances, rely solely on gasoline and diesel fuel instead of much cleaner electric alternatives. Such incentives run counter to the state’s zero-emission goals and policies.
In 2016, the Legislature established an electric vehicle rebate program to drive New York toward meeting its clean vehicle commitments. NYSERDA launched the Drive Clean Rebate program during the first quarter of 2017. The program offers point-of-sale rebates of up to $2,000 for the purchase or lease of new qualified plug-in electric vehicles. When combined with federal tax credits, certain vehicles with an all-electric range of more than 120 miles can qualify for benefits up to $9,500. There are over 40 rebate eligible vehicles. The program has already provided New Yorkers with over $3 million worth of rebates for more than 2,300 vehicles. A better bill would amend the tax law to provide incentives that complement New York’s existing program and accelerate the transportation sector’s transition completely away from fossil fuels.
This legislation amends the tax law to exempt the sale certain vehicles from sales and compensating use taxes.