• Electric Vehicles

Consumers say keep, expand federal tax credits for electric vehicles

By Analytics Team | March 15, 2018

Survey Summary

  • Autolist surveyed 1,154 consumers on the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit.
  • Seventy-four percent of consumers say the tax credit would affect their decision to buy an EV.
  • One-third of consumers think the 200,000 vehicle cap on the tax credit should be lifted all together.
  • Sixty-three percent of consumers say the $7,500 credit is important to support EV adoption in the U.S.

Gas may be cheap and SUV sales may be surging but that doesn’t mean consumers want to drop the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles.

A recent survey by Autolist aimed at gauging its popularity shows strong sentiment for keeping or even expanding the EV incentive.

Currently the U.S. government will give up to $7,500 as a tax credit to people who buy or lease an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. How much consumers get depends on the vehicle’s battery capacity. Each automaker’s first 200,000 plug-in vehicles are eligible for the credit; after that the credit is reduced twice over the following 15 months before being phased out entirely.

But the existence of that credit is still seen as crucial to keeping up interest in EVs.

According to Autolist’s survey, 63% of consumers said they believed this $7,500 tax credit was somewhat important or crucial to support electric vehicle adoption in the U.S. market. Moreover, a third of respondents said that the 200,000-vehicle cap on tax credits per automaker should be lifted altogether in an effort to boost EV sales.

This result comes on the heels of remarks made by GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this month calling for the expansion of the 200,000 vehicle limit for the tax credit. Later this year both GM and Tesla are expected to hit that 200,000-vehicle cap.

The eventual loss of the tax credit would put Tesla and GM’s EVs at a significant competitive disadvantage just as mainstream rivals from Jaguar, Audi, Volvo, Porsche and BMW begin hitting the market in significant numbers.

That could have a meaningful impact on Tesla and GM EV sales.

The same Autolist survey also found that 74% of respondents said the $7,500 tax credit would have at least some impact on their decision to buy an electric car, underscoring the importance of the credit to consumers who see the high price of electric vehicles as a crucial hurdle to buying one.

An earlier Autolist study found that the high price of EVs was the second-most concerning issue for consumers. The range of electric vehicles was their biggest concern.

Of the 74% of consumers impacted by the tax credit, 39% said it would have some impact on their decision, 25% said it would have a large impact and 11% said that without the tax credit, they wouldn’t consider buying an electric vehicle at all.

Autolist surveyed 1,154 people for the study; half of the group are car shoppers currently in the market for a vehicle and half are current vehicle owners.

Previous studies by Autolist have found that consumers are unwilling to wait for delays in Tesla Model 3 production, something the company is currently struggling with.

Autolist studies have also found that most consumers believe Tesla is a profitable company when in fact it is deeply unprofitable; the electric car maker has posted a profit in just two of its last 35 quarters.

Autolist has also found that Tesla vehicles sell faster than other American car brands and that Teslas depreciate slower than their segment rivals. Even the Model 3 is projected to depreciate at a slower pace than its peers.

You can check out all of Autolist’s research here.