There’s a growing pile of evidence showing that electric vehicles are better not just for the environment, but for consumers’ bank accounts too. A new study by Keybridge LLC. found that Oregon’s proposed $3,000 rebate on electric vehicle purchases would add about $83 million to the local economy as drivers spend less on gas, and more on everything else.
“Plain and simple, EVs cost less to drive a mile down the road than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles,” said study author Dr. Robert Wescott. “The bump in state GDP from increased electric vehicle adoption is fueled in part by the budget relief on households generated by driving electric and saving on gasoline. These savings could be used to purchase other Oregon-produced goods and services.”
By implementing this rebate and encouraging EV purchases, Oregon residents could save $46 million in fuel costs over the next five years, and another $212 million through 2030. Considering that the average American family spends about $2,000 a year in gasoline, or about 4% of their average annual income, effectively eliminating the cost of fuel and maintenance from the family budget means a lot more money leftover at the end of the month.
Even somebody like me, who shares a single fuel fuel efficient car with his wife, still spends about $120 to $150 per month on fuel. My wife and I could go out for dinner and cocktails two times over with that kind of extra money every month, but instead it just disappears into the massive bank accounts of Big Oil. If we all drove electric vehicles though, we could figuratively pump that money back into our local economy instead of sending more oil platforms deeper into the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic Circle.
Westcott goes on to say that Oregon’s $3,000 rebate would also allow buyers access to the $7,500 Federal tax rebate, meaning even more money could be entered into the economy, rather than be spent on simple transportation. Like many states, Oregon is struggling to maintain its road repair funds as more efficient petrol-powered vehicles consume less fuel, meaning fewer fuel taxes. This has led Oregon to begin testing a pay-by-the-mile tax system independent of gas taxes to make up for the hit in funding.
Eventually, even EV owners will have to pay their fair share of road taxes, which is why I don’t mind the pay-by-the-mile system. But the much lower costs of owning and operating an electric car could help revitalize many struggling communities by giving consumers greater freedom in how they spend their paychecks. Would you rather buy a gallon of gas, or a large latte from your local coffee shop?
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