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Proposed New York bills would exempt electric cars from some state sales tax, registration fees

A group of New York legislators are grouping together a number of recently proposed bills into one initiative which aims to expand electric vehicle ownership in the state, through exemptions for state sales tax and registration fees on EV purchases.

The “Green Wheels, Green Streets” agenda promoted by Democratic State Senators Jen Metzger, Tim Kennedy, and Neil Breslin, along with Democratic Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, aims to make electric vehicles “easier to purchase and more practical to use.” The legislators issued a joint press release, which notes:

In New York State, the number of electric vehicles on the road has jumped from 24,551 in 2017 to 36,854 in 2018 – an increase of almost 63 percent in one year. However, New York still does not break the top ten states for electric vehicle ownership and will need to dramatically increase ownership to meet ambitious climate goals. In order to meet New York’s goal of getting approximately 2 million electric vehicles on the road and reaching a 40 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, this package takes a holistic approach to diversify and upgrade the state’s transportation infrastructure.

One of the bills, S.3827, would provide “an exemption for the sale of the first $35,000 for a battery, electric, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle from state sales and compensating use taxes; authorizes local governments to elect such incentives.” New York collects 4% sales tax on vehicle sales, so at $35,000, buyers would save $1,400 up front.

Another bill, S.241, would exempt “clean fuel vehicles” from first-year registration fees. On top of the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles, New York State offers up to a $2,000 rebate for all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

An additional bill in the initiative, S.5157, aims to give condo owners more rights when it comes to installing charging stations.

Electrek’s Take

These bills have a long way to go, but all things green and electric seem to have momentum in New York lately, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to push the state’s own “Green New Deal.” (Activists are also now pushing to transition the state to fully electric fleets by 2040.) Furthermore, these are all Dem-sponsored bills, and both the state Senate and Assembly feature strong Democratic majorities. Reducing upfront costs is a good way to get more drivers into EVs.

The only question we have is, if you’re truly concerned about climate goals, reducing emissions, and increasing EV ownership, why include hybrids in a sales tax exemption? It would make more sense for that particular bill to only exempt all-electric vehicles from state sales tax.

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Phil Dzikiy is an Editor/Writer with Electrek/9to5Mac. Tips: