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Electric car owners take hit with new tax
They're also losing $5,000 tax credit
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Jamie Lanier Loudermilk shows where she plugs in her 2015 Nissan Leaf to charge at her Buford home. The Loudermilks are able to recharge their car each night at a station in their garage. - photo by Erin O. Smith

BUFORD — A new state tax structure that takes effect today has stirred ire among some electric car owners.

The measure is projected to generate an additional $830 million to $850 million every year to be used for road and bridge repairs.

Approved this year by the Georgia General Assembly, the changes primarily eliminate the state fuel sales tax and increase the excise tax.

But the law also calls for electric car owners to pay an annual $200 fee and removes a $5,000 tax credit serving as a purchase incentive for what many say are more environmentally friendly cars.

“This is completely ridiculous,” said Jamie Lanier Loudermilk, a Buford resident who leases a Nissan Leaf with her husband, Ron.

“We’re more than willing to pay our fair share when it comes to helping maintain this state’s roads, but this isn’t a fair tax,” Loudermilk said.

Loudermilk added that the message this sends to electric vehicle owners like herself is not a positive one.

“We got this car because, with the tax credit, it was a great deal. The other reason we got it was because it’s environmentally friendly,” Loudermilk said. “With all the people who drive electric cars around Georgia, it’s got to be doing something good for the environment. The air is cleaner now, because there are so many more electric cars.”

The Loudermilks also have a pickup truck, for which they will be paying the same increased prices as most other Georgians.

The change involves a new 26-cent state excise tax per gallon instead of the current 7.5 cents and eliminates a 3 percent state motor fuel sales tax and 1 percent state sales tax. That’s on top of local and federal taxes.

Thus, the average price of gas per gallon, with taxes, has been about $2.77. Starting today, it rises to $2.86.

But as most drivers know, gas prices can fluctuate wildly, based on many factors.

Loudermilk understands all that. She’s paid close attention to the issue, but it doesn’t take the sting out of what it means for the family’s finances and the message she said it sends “to the EV community.”

“There are gas stations on every corner, but charging stations are not easy to find. By getting rid of the tax credit, you’ve slowed down the market for EVs,” she said.

While Loudermilk said charging stations are few and far between, there are some local businesses that have installed them, such as Kroger on Limestone Parkway.

Glynn Jenkins, public relations director for Kroger’s Atlanta Division, said electric cars “are becoming more popular, and the demand for charging them continues to increase.”

Added Jenkins: “Kroger’s Atlanta Division will add electric vehicle charging stations at new store locations when possible. There are currently charging stations at select locations in metro Atlanta, which is one of the fastest growing markets for electric vehicles.”

Not anymore, Loudermilk said.

“I would think [electric cars] would be something that our representatives would get behind,” she said. “I would think they would be smart enough to realize this is the way of the future. They need to be promoting this, but now the opposite is happening.”