In a mildly rare show of automaker unity, the CEOs of General Motors, Toyota Motor North America, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis jointly petitioned congressional leaders last week, asking that Congress effectively take the lid off the $7,500 tax credits automakers have used for more than a decade to lure consumers into electric vehicles.
The CEOs specifically asked that Congress do away with the 200,000-vehicle-per-automaker cap on the existing tax credits until "the EV market is more mature" and could conceivably stand on its own.
We believe strongly that Congress should reject this request as written. The choice for lawmakers is either to do nothing and let existing tax credits expire or, as we argued just last month, reconfigure any subsequent taxpayer EV subsidies to assist consumers of lesser means to make the leap to EVs, instead of underwriting the second or third vehicles of the wealthy.
We proposed some "standard equipment" on any expansion: A taxpayer should qualify for only one purchase subsidy, not multiple. There should be income limitations on who qualifies, as well as price limitations or phaseouts to ensure that taxpayer assistance is available only for lower-priced, mainstream vehicles. And any help should be available immediately at purchase to lower the cost of borrowing.