fbpx

Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index

States: The Next Battleground in the Switch to EVs

There is no doubt that the electric vehicle revolution is here, especially after President Joe Biden’s executive order outlining the target of making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to be EVs. Although this is an exciting step forward in reducing emissions that contribute to the climate crisis, Biden’s bold proposal is destined to fail if outdated state regulations remain on the books. Specifically, dealer franchise laws that ban direct-to-consumer sales for electric vehicles.

Currently, 29 states have regulations that either limit or completely ban consumers from purchasing vehicles directly from a manufacturer. If you live in one of the 17 states that has a complete ban, that means you can only purchase an EV from a licensed dealership. This outdated law, which does nothing but protects the dealer franchise model from innovative competition, all but ensures consumers in those states don’t have access to vehicles manufactured by companies like Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, and Lordstown. For example, in order for a consumer in Alabama to purchase an EV from one of those manufacturers, they would have to buy their car in Florida, load it on a flatbed, and drive the flatbed to an Alabama DMV office to register it. If the bans and onerous hurdles remain in place, it is naive to think Biden’s mandate would be even remotely achievable.

What makes these bans on direct-to-consumer sales even more problematic is that consumers are already purchasing cars online, in the used vehicle market, which is legal nationwide. We have seen an increase of online vehicle purchases as consumers prefer the transparent pricing, quick buying process, and convenience of having their vehicle delivered directly to their home. So the question remains if you can buy a used car online, what justification could exist to ban you from buying a new EV online?

The answer is uncomfortable where state politicians are beholden to the dealer franchise model and the power they flex in lobbying state lawmakers. It is an irritating, yet simple, example of the existing industry lobbying to restrict consumer access to maintain its market share.

Getting rid of outdated laws would drastically expand consumer choice, and help lower prices, but the benefits are not limited to one’s pocketbook. In addition to financial considerations, allowing for direct-to-consumer sales eliminates the possibility of a car salesperson inflicting any personal biases they may have onto the buyer, making the experience more comfortable for consumers as a whole.

Another glaring issue with the direct-to-consumer sales bans is they often limit or ban EV companies from having service centers throughout all 50 states. For example, if you own a Tesla in South Carolina and need it to be serviced, you will have to drive to another state to visit a service center. Depending on what needs to be done to the vehicle, that could pose a significant safety risk for all drivers and passengers on the road. Eliminating the direct-to-consumer sales ban is crucial as it will not only increase EV accessibility for consumers but will also help keep America’s roads safe.

Beyond problematic direct-to-consumer sales bans, consumers are often hit with exorbitant registration fees when they purchase an EV. As it stands, 28 states currently have higher registration fees for EVs than for standard gasoline vehicles. Ohio, for example, charges $31 to register your standard passenger vehicles, $100 for hybrid vehicles, and $200 for fully electric vehicles, which is actively discouraging consumers from owning EVs. Those higher registration fees were created to offset the state’s lost revenue from gas taxes to help pay for infrastructure and administrative costs, but it is unfair that EV consumers who make the greener choice and use less gas are being forced to carry the financial burden. Instead of perpetuating revenue-generating penalties onto EV consumers, a better path forward would be embracing technology neutrality in registration fees by treating standard passenger vehicles and EVs the same, which is the approach Florida has taken.

Although some consumers want access to EVs, Biden’s executive order won’t help them get it if changes aren’t made at the state level. In order to reach the ambitious 2030 goal, Biden should work with states to reduce the harsh regulatory barriers currently preventing consumers from fully accessing and embracing electric vehicles. If these laws aren’t changed, the EV boom may end up fizzling out.

Originally published here

Alabama has less than one percent of registered electric vehicles in U.S.

A study ranked the state among the worst places for EV infrastructure and financial incentives.

An analysis of data on electric vehicle demand and existing infrastructure in each state rated Alabama 31st in registered electric vehicle ownership but next to last in terms of ease of use and benefits of having one.

The study was conducted by Bumper, an online marketplace for used vehicles, and scored states in 10 categories — five related to infrastructure and five related to financial incentives. 

Read the full article here

NM Coalition Makes Speedier Push for Electric Vehicles

New Mexicans who want to impact climate change by driving an electric vehicle have several roadblocks, and they won’t end soon if the state fails to take action before the end of this year.

Two years ago, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order committing New Mexico to essential climate-change goals.

The order included a requirement that auto manufacturers deliver more electric vehicles to the state, but the timeline for a necessary rule-making process to adopt Advanced Clean Cars Standards has come and gone twice, and been postponed a third time.

Tammy Fiebelkorn, New Mexico representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, said cleaner cars are crucial to address climate change.

“We have these goals of reducing our greenhouse gases and meeting our climate goals that are in the executive order that the governor signed, but until we can get some electric vehicles sold here, we’re not going to meet the transportation one,” Fiebelkorn cautioned.

Southwest Energy Efficiency is among a coalition of groups that filed a formal petition asking the state to adopt Advanced Clean Cars Standards by year’s end, a deadline state officials have said can not be met.

New Mexico has installed more than 100 electric-vehicle charging stations in various locations, but only about 1,200 plug-in electric vehicles are currently on the roads.

Fiebelkorn pointed out the adoption of rules to govern Advanced Clean Car Standards is fairly straightforward because they must be identical to those of other states. She added New Mexico may be unable to implement standards until 2026 if it misses a December deadline.

“Because of the way the standards are written, you have to wait two model years,” Fiebelkorn explained. “And so if we can get it in this year, then that lets us implement a whole year sooner.”

When it comes to purchasing an electric vehicle, the Consumer Choice Center ranked New Mexico and 16 other states in the “barely accessible” category, a notch above nine other states where they are totally “inaccessible,” either because direct-to-consumer sales are banned, or extra registration fees are exorbitant.

Nationwide, electric vehicles represent less than 1% of all vehicles on the road. 

Originally published here.

Jacksonville Vette included in National Corvette Day poster

The Corvette is celebrating its 68th anniversary this year. with eight generations produced since the first C1 model premiered on June 30, 1953. So it’s no surprise that June 30 was officially designated “National Corvette Day” by Congress back in 2008. So the Hagerty Drivers Foundation celebrated that anniversary this year with a poster showing all eight generations.

The collection includes a Jacksonville family’s white C7 Corvette in the lower left. And its photo, plus the sunny image of the Polo White 1953 C1 in the upper left, were taken by local photographer Nick Williams.

The Corvette was born out of the fertile mind of GM Chief Designer Harley J. Earl in the early 1950s, dreaming of an American sports car, yet inspired by the great European sports cars of the time. In 1953, Earl introduced the Corvette as his latest “dream car” at GM’s Motorama show in New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel grand ballroom, and it was a hit. The fiberglass body C1 roadster appeared the next year, the first 300 built in Flint. But for the past 30 years, the mid-engine C8 is built in Bowling Green, Ky.

Originally a Chrysler air-conditioning unit factory, the facility was completely refurbished into a modern automotive facility. Since then, the facility has doubled in size, and Bowling Green has remained the exclusive home of the Corvette for over 30 years.

MINI unveils EV van

MINI has unveiled a real Vision Urbanaut concept car, six months after it showed off the design as a “virtual vision,” so people can “engage more extensively with the spatial concept and sustainable materials at work,” it said. Premiered July 1 at the DLD Summer conference in Munich, the all-electric people mover is a sleek rounded box with a lounge-like cabin that can be configured to fit the passengers it’s carrying,. And MINI has also created three profiles called Chill, Wanderlust, and Vibe, allowing the exterior and interior to change to “reflect the MINI moment at hand,” it says.

That includes fragrance, sound and ambient lighting. For example, Chill makes the interior into a kind of retreat to relax or work with full concentration. There’s a glass roof, small inside table and front seats that rotate so occupants can join the chat. And the Wanderlust mode allows the Urbanaut to be driven, a tap on a MINI logo unfolds the steering wheel and pedals from a cushioned front shelf.

Caffeine and Octane is here

The new Caffeine and Octane Jacksonville premieres at 8 a.m. Saturday at The Avenues mall at 10300 Southside Blvd. And organizers have issued a map to show where some of the expected hundreds of classics, sports cars and exotics can show off until 11 a.m. at the revived mega-cruise in on the east side of the mall.

As the map shows, vehicles in the Central Lot (red) must remain in place until 11 a.m., so do not park there if you are not able to stay, 11am. Exhibit Lots (blue on map), Exotics Lot and the Porsche Corner (far right) allow participant vehicles to come and go throughout the event, although cruising is not allowed for safety reasons. The Exhibit Lots are also the best option for clubs and large same make/model groups. This event will also celebrate local and national military vehicles with a dedicated parking and display area.

The city’s biggest local cruise-in was renamed Caffeine and Octane Jacksonville after joining forces with the integrated brand behind North America’s largest monthly car show in Dunwoody, Ga., and the “Caffeine and Octane” television show on the NBC Sports Network. The event returns at the same times on Saturday Aug. 14 and Sept. 11, with more to come through the year.

Poll shows Fla. most EV-friendly

Florida ranks top in the nation in a newly-released US Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, which evaluates how consumer-friendly each state is for purchasing an electric vehicle. Florida’s top marks are a result of the state permitting direct-to-consumer sales, which are prohibited in 17 states, says the ConsumerChoiceCenter.org index.

“Florida has prioritized consumer access for electric vehicles, and other states should follow Florida’s lead,” Consumer Choice Center North American Affairs Manager David Clement said. ” … In today’s age of limitless information at your fingertips, and healthy competition in the auto industry, these restrictions are far past their expiration date. Other states should do exactly what Florida did, and allow for direct-to-consumer sales.”

Clement, who authored the study, also said Florida should be commended for its technology-neutral approach to registration fees. Florida licenses vehicles based on their weight, and does not discriminate against EVs, or hybrid plug-ins. Unfortunately, consumers in 28 states face disproportionate licensing fees if they seek to register their EV, he said.

Originally published here.

WV laws inhibit electric vehicle sales

One of the core components of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is adequately preparing the country for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

The Biden administration has earmarked $174 billion for transportation electrification, which has sparked a flurry of investment from auto manufacturers.

GM announced they will be opening a $2.3 billion plant in 2023 to manufacture 500,000 EV batteries, Honda has committed to only sell EVs by 2040, Hyundai will invest $7 billion for U.S. EV production, and Ford has announced that half of all Lincolns produced could soon be emissionless.

But unfortunately for consumers in West Virginia, poor policy at the state level is acting as a major hurdle. West Virginia, who currently ranks tied for last in the U.S. Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, is actively discouraging the purchase of EVs with their ban on direct-to-consumer sales and their disproportionate licensing fee for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Under the guise of consumer protection, West Virginia has made it illegal for electric vehicle manufacturers, like Tesla, to sell directly to consumers. Dealer franchise laws, which ban direct sale, are a decades-old policy implemented to protect consumers from vertical integration and monopolization.

In today’s age of limitless information at your fingertips and healthy competition in the auto industry, this restriction is far past its expiration date. It does nothing but impede consumer choice while providing no consumer protection value.

That’s why many EV manufacturers have opted out of the dealership model entirely. Due to the innovative nature of electric vehicles, a traditional franchised dealership model may not be the most effective way to get these eco-friendly vehicles to market.

Operating a stand-alone dealership increases costs and adds a middle man into the sale process, which can often inflate prices for consumers.

Beyond the ban on direct sales, West Virginia also punishes EV consumers with higher license and registration fees. The standard registration fee for vehicles in West Virginia is $51.50. For consumers making the eco-conscious choice to buy and register an EV, the registration cost is nearly 400% higher at $251.50.

This is incredibly discriminatory, and a much better approach would be to simply treat EVs on par with standard passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, some legislators have justified the additional fee to help recover lost gas tax revenue, but that runs counter to the purpose of gas taxes. The purpose of the gas tax, currently at 23 cents per gallon in West Virginia, is to encourage consumers to reduce their emissions, which is exactly what EV consumers are doing when they purchase an EV. It’s strange that the reward EV consumers get for their eco-friendly decision is inflated fees exponentially higher than the alternative. It is unfair that these consumers now shoulder more of the financial burden when they are in fact responding to gas taxes as intended by the tax.

On top of being relatively easy to implement, these policy changes have the added benefit of encouraging EV purchases without taxpayer manufacturing subsidies or complicated tax credits, which have rightfully been criticized for favoring the wealthy.

At the end of the day, the EV revolution is well on its way. By simply getting out of the way, legislators in West Virginia could enhance consumer choice, lower costs, protect the environment and do so without all of the logistical issues that come with corporate welfare and boutique tax credits.

As the famous idiom goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The tide is certainly rising for electric vehicles, but with misguided regulations handcuffing consumers, West Virginians may end up watching from the shoreline.

Originally published here.

Nebraska should end these in-state obstacles to electric vehicle progress

One of the core components of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is adequately preparing the country for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. The Biden administration has earmarked $174 billion for transportation electrification, which has sparked a flurry of investment from auto manufacturers.

GM announced they will be opening a $2.3 billion plant in 2023 to manufacture 500,000 EV batteries, Honda has committed to sell only EVs by 2040, Hyundai will invest $7 billion for U.S. EV production, and Ford has announced that half of all Lincolns produced could soon be emissionless. Even here in Nebraska, EV consumers communities like Norfolk and Kearney are building out their charging stations.

But unfortunately for consumers in Nebraska, poor policy at the state level is acting as a major hurdle. Nebraska, who currently ranks tied for last in the U.S. Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, is actively discouraging the purchase of EVs with their ban on direct-to-consumer sales, and their disproportionate licensing fee for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Under the guise of consumer protection, Nebraska has made it illegal for electric vehicle manufacturers, like Tesla, to sell directly to consumers. Dealer franchise laws, which ban direct sale, are a decades-old policy implemented to protect consumers from vertical integration and monopolization. In today’s age of limitless information at your fingertips, and healthy competition in the auto industry, this restriction is far past its expiration date. It does nothing but impede consumer choice while providing no consumer protection value. That’s why many EV manufacturers have opted out of the dealership model entirely. And, we know from the success of direct-to-consumer platforms in the used car market (where direct sale is legal) that online purchasing is on the rise.

Beyond the ban on direct-sales, Nebraska also punishes EV consumers with higher license and registration fees. The standard registration fee for vehicles in Nebraska is between $15. For consumers making the eco-conscious choice to buy and register an EV, the registration cost is over 500% higher, at $75. This is incredibly discriminatory, and a much better approach would be to simply treat EVs on par with standard passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, some legislators have justified the additional fee to help recover lost gas tax revenue, but that runs counter to the purpose of gas taxes. The purpose of the gas tax, currently at 28.7 cents per gallon in Nebraska, is to encourage consumers to reduce their emissions, which is exactly what EV consumers are doing when they purchase an EV. It’s strange that the reward EV consumers get for their eco-friendly decision is inflated fees exponentially higher than the alternative. It is unfair that these consumers now shoulder more of the financial burden when they are, in fact, responding to gas taxes as intended by the tax.

On top of being relatively easy to implement, these policy changes have the added benefit of encouraging EV purchases without taxpayer manufacturing subsidies, or complicated tax credits, which have rightfully been criticized for favoring the wealthy.

At the end of the day the EV revolution is well on its way. By simply getting out of the way, legislators in Nebraska could enhance consumer choice, lower costs, protect the environment, and do so without all of the logistical issues that come with corporate welfare and boutique tax credits.

As the famous idiom goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The tide is certainly rising for electric vehicles, but with misguided regulations handcuffing consumers, Nebraskans may end up watching from the shore line.

Originally published here.

Alabamians may not share in the electric vehicle revolution

One of the core components of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is adequately preparing the country for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. The Biden Administration has earmarked $174 billion for transportation electrification, which has sparked a flurry of investment from auto manufacturers.

GM announced they will open a $2.3 billion plant in 2023 to manufacture 500,000 EV batteries, Honda has committed to only sell EVs by 2040, Hyundai will invest $7 billion for US EV production, and Ford has announced that half of all Lincoln vehicles produced could soon be emissionless. Even here in Alabama, Mercedes has committed to hiring an additional 400 workers at its Tuscaloosa County plant to keep pace with the demand for EVs

But unfortunately for consumers in Alabama, poor policy at the state level is acting as a major hurdle for the EV boom. Alabama, which currently ranks tied for last in the US Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index, is actively discouraging the purchase of EVs with their ban on direct-to-consumer sales, and their disproportionate licensing fee for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Under the guise of consumer protection, Alabama has made it illegal for electric vehicle manufacturers, like Tesla, to sell directly to consumers. Dealer franchise laws, which ban direct sales, are a decades-old policy implemented to protect consumers from vertical integration and monopolization. In today’s age of limitless information at your fingertips, and healthy competition in the auto industry, this restriction is far past its expiration date. It does nothing but impede consumer choice while providing no consumer protection value.

That’s why many EV manufacturers have opted out of the dealership model entirely. Due to the innovative nature of electric vehicles, a traditional franchised dealership model may not be the most effective way to get these eco-friendly vehicles to market. Operating a stand-alone dealership increases costs, and adds a middle-man to the sale process, which can often inflate prices for consumers. And, we know from the success of direct-to-consumer platforms in the used car market (where direct sale is legal), that online purchasing is on the rise.

Beyond the ban on direct-sales, Alabama also punishes EV consumers with higher license and registration fees. The standard registration fee for vehicles in Alabama is $65. For consumers making the eco-conscious choice to buy and register an EV, the registration cost is over 300% higher at $265. This is incredibly discriminatory, and a much better approach would be to simply treat EVs on par with standard gas-powered vehicles.

Unfortunately, some legislators have justified the additional fee to help recover lost gas tax revenue, but that runs counter to the purpose of gas taxes. The purpose of the gas tax, currently at 26 cents per gallon in Alabama, is to encourage consumers to reduce their emissions, which is exactly what EV consumers are doing when they purchase an EV. It’s strange that the reward EV consumers get for their eco-friendly decision is inflated fees exponentially higher than the alternative. It is unfair that these consumers now shoulder more of the financial burden when they are in fact responding to gas taxes as intended.

On top of being relatively easy to implement, these policy changes have the added benefit of encouraging EV purchases without taxpayer manufacturing subsidies, or complicated tax credits, which have rightfully been criticized for favoring the wealthy.

At the end of the day, the EV revolution is well on its way. By simply getting out of the way, legislators in Alabama could enhance consumer choice, lower costs, protect the environment, and do so without all of the logistical and ideological issues that come with corporate welfare and boutique tax credits.

As the famous idiom goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats”. The tide is certainly rising for electric vehicles, but with misguided regulations handcuffing consumers, Alabamians may end up watching from the shores.

Originally published here.

If You Live in These States Don’t Buy an Electric Vehicle

Some states want to help push electric vehicle adoption. Others don’t. They make it harder and more expensive to drive an EV than not. These are the states that if you’re living in them it is best not to buy an EV. At least not now.

What are states doing that makes them bad?

Banning direct-to-customer sales, extra registration fees, and higher road charges are all ways that some states make it hard to buy an EV. If you’re thinking that this breaks down into red states discouraging EV sales and blue states pushing it, you would be wrong. All 50 states have been graded for their ease or difficulty in making an EV purchase.

The Consumer Choice Center does the rating. And in a surprise finding the 10 states listed as the toughest to purchase an EV through are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In these states, you can’t make a direct vehicle sale, and it is more expensive registering an EV.  

Of the 50 states, 28 will charge you more to register an EV. Tesla sales have been banned in 17 states because their Franchise Tax laws don’t allow direct sales. And 12 more states have electric vehicle restrictions on sales through some direct-to-buyer laws. Some of these states restrict direct sales but don’t charge a higher fee to register an EV. Others, like Michigan, allow only Tesla to bypass Franchise Tax laws and sell direct. 

“Better policies will reduce significant barriers preventing consumers from fully accessing EVs”

“It is clear that consumers want more access to electric vehicles,” CCC’s North American affairs manager David Clement to arstechnica. “Therefore legislation should make the purchase and ownership of them as convenient as possible. And we urge legislators to put forth better policies that will reduce the significant barriers currently preventing consumers from fully accessing EVs.”

Conversely, these are the top 10 states that don’t have electric vehicle restrictions or higher registration fees when purchasing an EV. They are Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. California is not included on this list for a reason.

California is not on the “Best States” list-how come?

Because California now has its licensing fees for EVs based on the consumer price index, they are gradually increasing. Currently, they’re at $100. Gas taxes are used by the state for road improvements and other travel-related costs. Since EVs don’t use gasoline this licensing fee arrangement makes sure California gets EVs to chip in. 

Almost half of all EVs in the US are registered in California. It has the highest adoption rate and also has more charging stations than any other state. Nonetheless, the CCC doesn’t consider it one of the Top 10 friendlier because of its licensing fee arrangement. 

With car companies slated to stop building gas-powered vehicles over the next 10 years, some states will have to adapt fairly soon. While they may continue charging higher fees for EVs, they will also have to increase charging stations. Direct to buyer restrictions won’t be as much of a factor with all car companies now rolling out EVs at a steady pace. 

Originally published here.

West Virginia is the 6th lowest state when it comes to electric vehicle sales

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular through out nation, but West Virginia isn’t contributing much to that rise.  

Electric Vehicle analysts said that West Virginia is the 6th lowest state when it comes to EV sales. In the year 2020 the state only accounted 0.45% EV sales out of all car sales. That means out of the 1,000 new cars purchased in 2020 in West Virginia, only 4.5 of them were electric cars. 

“From 2011, which is kind of, what we refer to as the modern EV phase, up through February of this year West Virginians have purchased 1,374, what we refer to as, BEV’s and PHEV’s,” Loren McDonald, who does analysis, data, consulting and marketing services for the EV Industry, said.  “So, the BEV’s meaning they’re basically the full electric, there is no gas engine in the car, the PHEV’s, plug in hybrids.” 

But if the industry does take off analysts said that could benefit the state in several ways. One being more jobs. 

“So, I think we’re going to see a lot of the programs shifting to sort of thinking about green jobs,” McDonald said. “So it’s everything from solar installation to wind. But sort of combining that with the EV jobs. So, charging there are literally thousands of companies jumping into the EV charging industry everything from the equipment to the networks to basically installing it.” 

The Consumer Choice Center released a US Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index.

The index analyzes how consumer friendly each state is for buying an EV. The index said that West Virginia tied for last because of its ban on direct-to-consumer sales, and its EV licensing fees which are 4X higher than standard passenger vehicles. 

“The state government in West Virginia needs to get out of the way if West Virginia is going to join the EV revolution,” David Clement, North American Affairs Manager for the DC based Consumer Choice Center and co-author of the index said. “West Virginia’s ban on direct-to-consumer vehicle sales actively discriminates against EV manufacturers, which does nothing but make these vehicles more expensive, and less accessible. In today’s modern age of limitless information, there is no serious justification for a ban on direct sale, other than protecting the existing industry from disruption and competition.” 

Originally published here.

Opinion: Iowa shouldn’t be last in access to electric vehicles

The tide is certainly rising for electric vehicles, but with misguided regulations handcuffing consumers, Iowans may end up watching from the shore line.

A major component of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill is adequately preparing the country for the electric vehicle, or EV, revolution. The Biden administration earmarked $174 billion for transportation electrification, sparking a flurry of investment from auto manufacturers.

GM announced it’ll be opening a $2.3 billion plant in 2023 to manufacture 500,000 EV batteries, Honda committed to sell only EVs by 2040, Hyundai will invest $7 billion for US EV production, and Ford announced that half of all Lincolns produced could soon be emissionless. Even here in Iowa, EV consumers can now charge their vehicles for free at the famous World’s Largest Truck Stop on Interstate Highway 80.

Unfortunately for Iowan consumers, poor policy at the state level has created a major hurdle. Iowa, which currently ranks tied for last in the US Electric Vehicle Accessibility Index produced by our organization, the Consumer Choice Center, is actively discouraging the purchase of EVs with a ban on direct-to-consumer sales and disproportionate registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Under the guise of consumer protection, Iowa made it illegal for electric vehicle manufacturers, like Tesla, to sell directly to consumers. Dealer franchise laws, which ban direct sales, are antiquated policies implemented to protect consumers from vertical integration and monopolization. With today’s digital economy and healthy competition within the auto industry, this restriction is far past its expiration date as it limits consumer choice while providing no consumer protection value.

That’s why many EV manufacturers have opted out of the dealership model entirely. Operating stand-alone dealerships increases costs and adds a middle-man into the sale process, often inflating prices for consumers. And, we know from the success of direct-to-consumer platforms in the used car market that online purchasing is on the rise.

Beyond the direct-sales ban, Iowa punishes EV consumers with higher registration fees. Consumers making the eco-conscious choice with EVs must currently pay the standard registration fee as well as an additional fee of $97.50, although that fee will increase to $130 on Jan. 1, 2022. This is incredibly discriminatory; a better approach would be to simply treat EVs on par with standard passenger vehicles.

Unfortunately, some legislators have justified the additional fee to help recover lost gas tax revenue. The purpose of the gas tax, currently at 32 cents per gallon in Iowa, is to encourage consumers to reduce their emissions. It’s unfortunate that the reward EV consumers get for their eco-friendly decision is inflated registration fees that shoulder more of the financial burden when they are in fact responding to the gas tax as intended.

These policy changes are easy to implement and have the benefit of encouraging EV purchases without taxpayer manufacturing subsidies or complicated tax credits, which have rightfully been criticized for favoring the wealthy.

The EV revolution is here, and by simply getting out of the way, legislators in Iowa could enhance consumer choice, lower costs, protect the environment, and do so without all of the logistical issues that come with corporate welfare and boutique tax credits.

As the famous idiom goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The tide is certainly rising for electric vehicles, but with misguided regulations handcuffing consumers, Iowans may end up watching from the shore line.

Originally published here.

Scroll to top