Electric Vehicles Legislation: Is It Sustainable for FIU Students?


Danielle Haller/Contributing Writer

Many students are acquainted with the holistic and diverse experience that campus life brings. However, a statistic from U.S. News & World Report shows that FIU is a bit different since 95% of students live off-campus. This means many FIU panthers are using vehicles of transportation to and from campus.

Maintaining a car, insurance and payment while juggling an undergrad or graduate degree isn’t cheap and budgeting doesn’t always come second nature. So, when tax credits are incentivized to make the switch to an Electric Vehicle (EV), it can easily appeal to the eager student wishing to leave less of a carbon footprint. 

This EV incentive program within the CEAA (Clean Energy for America Act)  looks like the answer from the surface but diving a little deeper into the context reveals that it may not be as inclusive or as reachable as once thought, there’s a catch.

There’s a 5 year – $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a commercial EV after December 2021. That credit increases to $12,500 if you purchase a union-produced EV. Tesla Models, Toyota, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Honda are at a drawback because they aren’t unionized, consequently, you can’t use the credit to get one of their EVs. You can only use the credit on U.S. made EV with an MRSP lower than the following:

  • Sedans lower than $55,000
  • Vans lower than $64,000
  • SUVs lower than $69,000
  • Pickup trucks lower than $74,000

Congress is placing an incentive of $2,500 for used EVs and EVs assembled in the U.S., but only for the second owner of the vehicle that makes less than $150,000 per household. 

What Might This Mean for Students?

Students may be wondering what this leading EV reform bill, if passed, could mean for their ability to make sustainable action and reduce their carbon footprint. It might mean that students could have a harder time reaching the $7,500 equivalent federal tax burden requirement while they are in school. 

It also means that students will be greatly limited on the choices of vehicles in which they can purchase, leaving smaller vehicles as the primary option. That concept may prove to be the one sustainable feature of this politically, rather than an environmentally driven bill. 

Some critics are left to say that carbon tax yields a fairer solution than the flawed UW-produced electric vehicle incentive and is noted as, “the single most effective policy to tackle climate change”, by the NY Times. Both bills are currently being reviewed under congress and the carbon tax may be added to the Dems new Budget Bill

With regard to their environmental footprint, should students purchase a new EV by 2022 or watch and wait for the trade-in outcomes, financial trends, and potentially better incentives in the future as new policy changes emerge and become refined? 

It depends on the student’s financial status. If a Panther can afford to reach the equivalent tax burden then an EV purchase would be in their favor. If not, perhaps it’s best to watch and wait for better incentives to come along.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

Photo by myenergi on Unsplash

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