By Scott Aliferis
Congress will continue its review and oversight of automotive and energy issues this week. On Tuesday, May 8, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing entitled “Sharing the Road: Policy Implications of Electric and Conventional Vehicles in the Years Ahead”.
The Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman John Shimkus (R-Illinois), has invited a diverse set of witnesses to provide testimony on the wide range of issues, opportunities and challenges facing consumers, automakers, utilities and other stakeholders.
According to a subcommittee memo, the following issues may be examined at the hearing:
- The reasons for the current growth in EVs and expected future trends in electrification.
- The policy implications of increasing EV market penetration.
- The impact of EVs on fueling infrastructure and on the nation’s electrical grid.
- The response of liquid fuel providers and automakers to changing market trends.
- The consumer impacts of changing trends in transportation fuels and vehicles.
Another likely topic is the federal tax credit of up to $7,500 on the purchase of a plug-in electric vehicle, depending upon the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. During last year’s Congressional debate on tax reform, the credit was preserved despite opposition from some House Republicans. However, the incentive begins to phase out after each manufacturer sells 200,000 electric vehicles. Many automakers may hit the limit this year. A group of 36 utilities cosigned a letter in March urging Congress to modify the credit and eliminate the cap. Pacific Gas & Electric was a signatory and its CEO is one of the witnesses for tomorrow’s hearing.
Other witnesses will offer important perspectives and data on the current marketplace and outlook for EV adoption. Additionally, there will be debate surrounding the existing policy and regulatory structures at the state and federal levels and what changes or modifications should be considered.