The Heritage Foundation recently wrote a misleading column to undermine government support for electric vehicles. The column says that extending the $7,000 federal electric vehicle tax credit for 10 more years would cost taxpayers a “massively expensive” $16 billion, a drop in the hat as compared with fossil fuel subsidies. A recent Forbes article states that the United States spends $649 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies, $6.5 trillion over that same 10-year period, which is over 400 times what EV tax credits could cost. Fossil fuel subsidies are 10 times the amount of federal spending on education. It’s no surprise that a foundation receiving major funding from the Koch brothers would have no objection to the tax burden of fossil fuel subsidies.

The Heritage Foundation suggests that electric vehicles are so expensive that only the elite own them, but EVs are now available across a broad price range. Our American EV costs way less than a new full-sized pickup truck — so does that mean that every pickup driver is super-elite? Also, electric vehicle maintenance is way less expensive than that of any gas-powered vehicle; in most years it’s just rotating the tires.

I wish the topic of climate change hadn’t become a political war. It’s simply science, and if you think you’re not seeing it happen, think about ticks, lobsters, insects, birds and mammals, all moving north. If we don’t solve this problem, soon there will be billions of human refugees moving north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern hemisphere.

To meet Gov. Janet Mills’ goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050, transportation and heating need to be electrified. The technology is there now and improves every year.

So if the Heritage Foundation is worried about the impact of electric vehicle tax credits on all taxpayers, consider the impact of fossil fuel subsidies on taxpayers even if they don’t use fossil fuels. Then think about the taxpayer cost of decades of health problems from air pollution and mercury in our waters from burning coal. Furthermore, without action on greenhouse gas reduction, there will be worsening droughts, floods, wildfires, hurricanes and more, a tax burden that will get much worse. Coastal towns and cities are already spending billions for protection from rising sea levels.

Electric vehicles may be 1% of new car sales here, but EV sales are increasing dramatically in all of Europe, Japan and China. Since transportation is the number one source of emissions in Maine, we need to step on the EV sales accelerator.

Tony Marple is a former selectman in Whitefield, and former chief financial officer of MaineGeneral Health and director of the Office of MaineCare Services.

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