Senate Stimulus Tax Plan Offers Incentives For Plug-In Electric Cars

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Energy tax provisions slated for the massive economic stimulus bill include expanded incentives for plug-in electric vehicles.

Now that’s seriously good news even though gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in a long time.

The Senate unveiled yesterday that they would mark up the $272 billion tax measure as they are a promising way to help curb reliance on oil imports by effectively allowing electric power to substitute for oil-based transportation fuels.  The energy provisions total more than $30 billion over the course of a decade.

The package now expands an existing credit for plug-in electric vehicles by doubling the number eligible to 500,000. The size of the credit begins at $2,500 and expands with the amount of battery capacity. The maximum credit for vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less is $7,500, and higher amounts are available for heavier vehicles.

A separate change to the broad tax package modifies an existing credit for carbon sequestration. Under current law, a credit of $20 per metric ton of carbon captured and sequestered in secure geologic storage is available. Also, a credit of $10 per ton is available for carbon that is captured and used as a “tertiary injectant” for enhanced oil and gas recovery. The change requires that the carbon used as a tertiary injectant must be sequestered in permanent geologic storage to qualify for the credit.

The overall package provides a suite of renewable energy and efficiency measures, such as a three-year extension of availability of tax credit for wind and some other projects, a new credit for manufacture of advanced energy-related equipment, and extended and expanded credits for energy efficient homes.

In addition to the tax provisions, the overall bill includes tens of billions in spending on energy programs, such as measures to increase federal building efficiency, help finance renewable energy projects, and deploy a “smart” electric power grid.

The House is scheduled to vote on its version of the bill today. Democrats want to send a final House-Senate plan to President Barack Obama by mid-February. The overall economic recovery plan is roughly $825 billion.

Image credit: Treehugger

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