This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Last week, the Utah government posted its list of 2012 cars eligible for the state's $605 clean fuel vehicle tax credit (http://www.cleanfuels.utah.gov).
Although the list includes parallel hybrids like Toyota's Prius and the serial hybrid Chevy Volt, it inexplicably excludes electric vehicles like Nissan's Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV even though the U.S. Department of Energy says electric vehicles are the most efficient cars available (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/topten.jsp).
Even more discouraging, compressed natural gas vehicles still qualify for a much higher $2,500 tax credit. Do Utah lawmakers truly want to clean up our air, or merely subsidize Questar Gas?
Perhaps lobbyists for compressed natural gas have swayed our legislators with the worn-out "long tailpipe" argument (that electric vehicles have "upstream" pollution because electricity comes from coal-fired power plants).
If so, those proponents conveniently forget that CNG vehicles also have "upstream" pollution: Questar drills, extracts, refines, compresses and pumps natural gas using power from those very same plants.
Our Legislature needs to either award the same $2,500 tax incentive to electric vehicles or eliminate all such incentives and let the free market decide.
Mark D. Larsen