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Ohio Senators Want To Create Discounts For Electric Vehicles

(from right to left) Sen. Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) and Sen. Michael Rullie (R-Salem) introduce bill to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles.
Andy Chow
(from right to left) Sen. Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) and Sen. Michael Rullie (R-Salem) introduce bill to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles.

A bipartisan bill in the Senate would offer incentives for electric vehicles by creating a $500 sales tax credit for purchase of an EV for personal use and higher tax credits for commercial use.

The bill from Sen. Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) and Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) would also create a $1,500 sales tax credit for the construction of charging stations.

Rulli says Ohio is not currently in the Top 10 states that purchase electric vehicles, although he argues it's positioned to be a major state for sales given the precense of GM, Ford, and Chrysler.

"All the [Big Three] are in Ohio producing cars every day and employing Ohioans which is number one. If we can employ Ohioans making electric so be it, if we can save the environment so be it," says Rulli.

O'Brien emphasizes the importance of also supporting the electric vehicle infrastructure by incentivizing the creation of charging stations. He says spurring electric vehicle purchases must be paired with more charging stations, calling it a "chicken and the egg" situation.

"Which one do you do first? The infrastructure or do you build the cars? In this bill we're trying to do a little bit of both, get the vehicles out there by giving it a discount and then we have the reduction in purchasing these types of power stations for charging them," says O'Brien.

A similar bill to incentivize the purchase of compressed natural gas vehicles has been proposed by O'Brien in previous years and although it did receive some support it did not make it out of the Statehouse.

Earlier this month, General Motors announced a joint venture with LG's chemical subsidiary to create a $2.3 billion battery manufacturing plant. The plant, which will employ 1,200 workers, will be located in Lordstown. The joint venture is meant to support GM's goal to roll out a new fleet of all-electric vehicles.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.