Electric cars charging

Electric cars are plugged into a charging station.

Georgia lawmakers are trying again to strike out excess fees and bring back incentives for energy-efficient vehicles.

A group of state senators filed a bill that would eliminate the state’s alternative-fueled vehicle fee and offer those drivers up to $5,000 in tax credits.

Georgia is among 20 states where a registration surcharge is added for hybrid and electric vehicles. Senate Bill 353 is one of many attempts by lawmakers over the past few years to reverse a 2015 law that subjects the drivers of green vehicles to an annual licensing fee ranging from $200 to $300. The fees are adjusted each year, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Under SB 353, hybrid vehicles that operate on gasoline and electricity would qualify drivers for a tax credit that is 10 percent of the cost of the vehicle, or a maximum of $2,500. Electric car drivers would qualify for a tax credit of 20 percent of the cost of the vehicle up to $5,000.

A similar bill was proposed in the House of Representatives last legislative session, but it stalled on the House floor. That bill, House Bill 732, has resurfaced. HB 372, filed by Rep. Todd Jones, R-South Forsyth, received a second reading in the House on Jan. 13.

SB 353, filed by Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, was assigned Tuesday to the Senate Finance Committee by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

Car companies have been adding more electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles to the market, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, in 2019, electric vehicle sales decreased by about 7 percent when compared with 2018, according to the automotive reporting website Edmunds. About 325,000 low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicles were sold in 2019.

The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a national program for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards.

All gasoline cars and light-duty trucks that weigh 8,500 pounds or less and were made between 1994 and 2014 are subject to an emissions test. Georgia follows the federal requirements.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.