As part of the push to shift American energy consumption to more sustainable sources, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to revive “his ambitious proposal to get every American to swap their gas-guzzling car for an electric one,” reports Andrew J. Hawkins in The Verge.
First proposed in 2019, the plan would create a “cash-for-clunkers”-type program to give consumers “a ‘substantial’ point-of-sale discount” when trading in a gas-powered car for an electric one. “A spokesperson later confirmed they are eyeing rebates that are ‘more generous’ than the current $7,500 federal EV tax credit.” The proposal also calls for “direct incentives to auto manufacturers to phase out their production of internal combustion engine vehicles and tax breaks for property owners to install EV chargers at their homes or apartment buildings,” as well as $45 billion in grants and subsidies to local governments to improve the nation’s network of EV charging stations. But with only 17% of the country’s electrical grid drawing from renewable sources, “electric vehicles are only as green as their power source.”
Some transit advocates criticize the plan, saying they “would rather see that sum of money spent on strengthening the nation’s public transportation infrastructure, especially at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge drop-off in ridership.” Schumer has responded that he is “working on a ‘large investment in clean mass transit’ right now, which he also hopes to include as part of the Democratic infrastructure proposal.”