Electric cars are a dumb target if Trump wants to hurt GM

By Dan Becker and James Gerstenzang


President Trump, looking for a way to strike back at GM for planning to mothball four U.S. factories that employ thousands of autoworkers, is threatening to take away a tax credit that has helped consumers buy electric vehicles.

“The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including … for electric cars,” Trump said on Twitter right after the GM announcement. On Monday, economic advisor Lawrence Kudlow said the administration was looking to eliminate the electric car tax credit for all manufacturers.

If the president really wants to get GM’s attention, tax breaks for electric cars are the wrong target. GM is halting production (already tiny) of the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt.

The $7,500 tax credit’s availability to GM’s customers is about to expire. (It gets reduced, then phased out after a company has sold 200,000 of its electric models; GM has sold 193,000.) And deleting the tax break likely requires congressional approval because it was created by legislation.

If Trump wants to hit GM where it hurts, he should take aim at big trucks and SUVs. He could start by eliminating what’s been called the “Hummer Tax Loophole.” This tax provision rewards purchasers of the biggest luxury gas guzzlers — which are also GM’s biggest sellers. By eliminating that tax break, he could simultaneously save taxpayers a bundle, slash pollution and remove an incentive to buy these oversized vehicles…

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The Safe Climate Campaign is working to solve the biggest challenge we face: Global warming. The technology exists today to protect our fragile climate by cutting our dependence on polluting fossil fuels, such as oil. We have a responsibility to our children and our communities to take sensible steps now to become good stewards of the…

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Opinion articles by Safe Climate Campaign

To justify rolling back auto gas mileage and emissions rules, the Trump administration has fabricated a false conflict between safety and improved fuel economy. The administration is wrong. Americans must have both, and can.

Encouraged by automakers to roll back President Barack Obama’s stringent fuel-efficiency rules, the administration unveiled a proposal on Thursday doing just that. Its preferred option: bringing progress to a halt by requiring no further mileage improvements in new cars and light trucks beyond 2020…

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