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SWEEP Gives Colorado High Marks for Electric Vehicle Policies

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Charging an electric vehicle in Denver, CO

Charging an electric vehicle in Denver, CO. The photographer writes: “The Future!
Gas stations? Where we’re going, we don’t need gas stations!”

The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) rated Colorado over any other southwestern state for its electric vehicle (EV) policies, for six new laws the state legislature passed, as Monte Whaley reports for The Denver Post. SWEEP gave Colorado an A- rating — as compared with B- grades for Arizona and Utah; C and C- grades for Nevada and New Mexico, respectively; and an F grade for Wyoming, which has no policies, Whaley writes.

With its six news laws, Colorado now has 12 policies addressing key barriers, such as upfront costs and limited driving range of EVs, more laws than any other southwest state has, according to SWEEP. Whaley quotes SWEEP’s transportation director, Will Toor: “Due to the state’s legislative leadership and its governor, Colorado has made great strides toward more widespread adoption of electric vehicles.”

Among the Colorado policies SWEEP cited is the extension of a state tax credit of up to $6,000 for buyers of EVs, and when a car buyer combines that with the federal tax credit of up to $7,500, the cost of buying an EV is comparable to a conventional, gas-powered vehicle, the report said.

The other policies include funding public charging stations through a small annual registration fee for electric vehicles, allowing EV owners to “travel free in carpool and toll lanes,” exempting EVs from emissions testing, and providing financial support for the installation of charging stations in public facilities and multi-family housing complexes, Whaley writes.

In Green Car Reports, John Voelcker writes that owners of EVs in Colorado have reason to be happy that the state is about to levy a $50 annual fee of any car that plugs into a wall to recharge its battery. He writes that what singles out Colorado’s tax from tax initiatives either in effect or under discussion in Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, is that it is half the price of the $100 fee in many other states.

He goes on to say:

Even better for electric-car advocates, the legislation that created it (HB 13-1110) specifies that only $30 of that money goes into the state treasury for the Highway Users Tax Fund.

The other half, fully $20 per plug-in car per year, goes into the state’s Electric Vehicle Grant Fund, which pays for public charging stations and other infrastructure.

That fund, established four years ago, was never allocated a revenue source — so until the electric-car tax was implemented, its goals remained purely theoretical.

The annual tax bill, which takes effect January 1, 2014, has been passed by both houses of the Colorado legislature, and is awaiting the signature of Governor John Hickenlooper, Voelcker writes.

Image by burge5k (Peter Burgess).


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