Legislation proposes incentive to buy alternative-powered vehicles

Posted by Southwest Corporation on 3/18/2013 5:15pm

Source: Austin Business Journal. Full Article »

Two bills filed in the Texas Legislature propose a $2,500 incentive to buy light-duty motor vehicles powered by emerging energy technologies.

Senate Bill 1275 by State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and House Bill 3110 by State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, would establish an incentive program — funded by the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan — for those who buy such vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or electric drives.

“Sales are really booming,” said Thomas Harper, a family owner of Capitol Chevrolet, Austin’s oldest Chevrolet dealership at 77 years and counting. “There’s been so much change in my time, and this is the way cars are headed.”

As proposed, a two-year incentive program would receive $5 million from the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, which is expecting $180 million to be appropriated, said Russ Keene, a spokesperson for Plug-In Texas, a coalition of private and public interests dedicated to promoting the use of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles in Texas. Car dealerships would reclaim the $2,500 sales reduction incentives from the Comptroller’s office.

Texas is one Chevrolet’s seven test markets for these types of vehicles due to high car ownership in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, said Craig Eppling, a regional communications manager for General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM). The Volt’s electric drive system with a gasoline-powered engine to generate additional electricity aims to reduce range anxiety, which is particularly pertinent in large states such as Texas. As with any new industry, incentives are a helpful way to encourage people to accept new technology, Eppling said.

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