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USA: Boost electric-car tax credit, say advocates

SALT LAKE CITY — Clean-energy advocates are teaming up with legislators to boost a tax credit for people who buy electric cars.

The credit would go from $605 to $2,500, the same for compressed natural gas-powered cars. Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, will sponsor a measure to equalize the tax credits for action by the Legislature in January.

“The purpose behind it is to bring to par those credits for people that make investments in both those kinds of vehicles,” he told the Deseret News.

Advocates for both types of vehicles gathered at the Utah Capitol last week to press the Utah Public Service Commission to help champion measures that curb tailpipe emissions and urban pollution.

The PSC will deliver a set of recommendations to the Legislature next month.

In a related move, Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, will sponsor a bill to exempt charging stations from the hassle of being regulated as a utility.

“Encouraging the use of electric vehicles, that’s one piece of the puzzle,” she said. “To have the vehicles and to have them available means we have to have charging stations.”

And more charging stations means less “range anxiety” for owners of electric vehicles, said Mike Salisbury, transportation program analyst for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project. Most electric cars go fewer than 100 miles on a charge.

“You’re going to be stranded if all of a sudden you don’t have enough miles left on the battery to get home or to a charging station,” he said.

Electric cars are smooth and quiet, “like an iPad compared to a desktop computer,” said Cheryl Loveless, mother of four and owner of an electric vehicle.

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