Legislation to promote electric car sales in Virginia

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - How much incentive do you need to buy an electric car? One state lawmaker hopes a tax titling exemption would do the trick. It's part of legislation to boost sales in Virginia. But are Richmonders ready to trade in?

Some say the $40,000 price tag is a little steep! That's just for the new Chevy Volt which will get a lot of attention at the General Assembly Tuesday as General Motors and Chevy reps lobby state lawmakers about why this bill is important for Virginia.

A cleaner environment and more green jobs; selling points for the new Chevy Volt. One state senator hopes Virginians will welcome the electric car with open wallets.

Proposed legislation would exempt electric vehicle sales from the 3% state titling tax. That's about $1300 in savings on the $41,000 Volt.

Electric car buyers could also apply for a $7,500 dollar federal tax credit.

"Help make it more affordable for consumers who want to buy new to have that option and take advantage of all the benefits," said Rob Shinn with Capital Results.

Shinn said the Volt is popular in northern Virginia which is a test market, but local Chevy dealers say there is tremendous interest here too.

As part of its remodeling, Dominion Chevrolet, is putting in charging stations. It's even trained its technicians to work on the Volt even though they won't see the car in the showroom until this time next year. But some can't get past the sticker shock.

"We don't have that kind of money to be spending $40,000 on a car," said Julie Brown from Richmond.

"We recycle, we do all that stuff and if we had money to spend we would happily go buy an electric car. The fact is we don't have money to spend," said Meg Gandy, also from Richmond.

Richmonder Jeremy Leahman said anything to improve the environment is great, but you won't see him walking into a Chevy dealership.

"We have a Lexus it's a hybrid so I do appreciate environmentally friendly cars, but I like a little bit of both. If I'm going to by a hybrid, I'm probably going to go with a non-American brand," said Leahman.

The tax exemption would be in effect for three years to boost car sales. Shinn said Maryland passed a similar bill last year.

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