New Study Reveals The Fed Would Have Saved $2 Billion If It Just Handed Buyers Cash Rather Than EV Rebates

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A new study released this month on EV buying habits from George Washington University suggests that buyers would prefer rebates now rather than tax cuts later much larger than previously thought. According to the study, the average EV buyer would have been just as happy with a direct, immediate cash incentive that was $1,440 less than the current $7,500 tax credit (that buyers may not see until they file their next tax return in April).

The study included 2,170 potential car-shoppers from 19 to 92 years old, who were asked questions about their preference for different kinds of incentives: sales tax exemptions, tax deductions, tax credits (which the U.S. government currently offers), or immediate cash rebates. The study showed that most buyers preferred the cash rebates massively over every other form of incentive. Laura Roberson, the lead author of the study, said that for buyers, “…$7,500 in April when I file taxes is the same to me [a hypothetical EV buyer] as $6,000 if you gave me that money at the point of sale.” The researchers noted that if the federal government had just done that, and handed buyers a check for roughly $6,000 instead of using the current tax credit model, they could have saved roughly $2.07 billion from 2011 to 2019 and had the same overall impact on EV buying habits.