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Senate looks to pass tax bill that preserves electric car credit

Threatened by House Republicans last month, the latest version of a bill with sweeping tax cuts preserves a massive federal credit for electric cars — and the bill looks to have the necessary votes to pass. By Friday afternoon, Republican senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) agreed to this version of the $1.5 billion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

A bill passed in the House of Representatives last month would have killed the electric vehicle tax credit that ranges between $2,500 and $7,500 depending on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. A Senate bill passed later in November kept the credit, along with numerous other items cut in the House version.

The bill stumbled earlier this week not because of the EV tax credit, but because of Rubio’s concern over rules in the child tax credit and Corker’s concern over the amount it would add to the deficit, according to The New York Times. Three other Republican senators, however, are publicly not yet committed to this version of the bill, the Times reported.

In November, General Motors told The Verge the tax credit was important for the acceptance of electric cars, but it would work with Congress regardless of the outcome. Analysts agreed that removing the tax credit would stifle EV acceptance nationwide, but not slow the production of them since other global markets are starting to heavily push for EV adoption.

GM, Nissan and Tesla are the closest to having that $7,500 credit being phased out as they reach the 200,000-unit threshold. Tesla, in fact, could see that happen starting next year. But other automakers that are just starting to sell a significant number of plug-ins would have been in more serious trouble, relying both on state rebates and manufacturer incentives. So for now, fans of electric cars can breathe.

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