Thank you for your intriguing article on the California Legislature’s proposed tripling of the electric car rebate.
California currently has the highest rate of poverty in the United States according to the Census Bureau. Almost 20 percent of our state’s families live in poverty. We are even 7 percent higher than Louisiana. Yet, the state legislature is considering dramatically increasing the rebate given to people who purchase electric cars.
On average, the owners of Tesla Model X vehicles have family incomes of $ 143,000 a year. And owners of the Tesla Model S earn $153,000 a year. The families living in poverty average annual incomes of about $25,000. So, the rebates given to the wealthy purchasers of electric vehicles will average almost 30 percent of the entire annual income of our families living in poverty.
Obviously, our poorest families cannot afford electric vehicles so they purchase gasoline with an average excise tax of 58.2 cents per gallon. This is to keep our roads in reasonable condition. Since electric vehicle owners do not purchase gasoline they are exempt from this per gallon charge. California’s poorest residents also pay the highest proportion of their income for gasoline. In addition, California had the highest increase in electricity costs in the country last year and now has the 7th highest electricity rates in the United States. Again this hits the poorest families the hardest.
Perhaps the ultimate indignity of the proposed rebate increase is that, according to the US Energy Information Agency, 30.2 percent of the electricity generated in the US comes from coal. So, wealthy buyers of electric vehicles get thousands of dollars in rebates, pay no per gallon gasoline tax to improve our roads, and then use electricity that nationwide comes 30 percent from coal. Meanwhile, our high taxes and high utility rates continue to increase our highest in the nation poverty rate.