On April 10, news came that the stock price for Tesla closed at $312.39, thus making the electric car company worth ostensibly more than General Motors. Tesla sold fewer than 80,000 cars in 2016, its banner year, while General Motors sold more than 80,000 Chevy Silverados every two months. Some analysts contend that investors who had bought Tesla short are now seeking to cash in, leading to the current high-water mark for its stock value.
 
Tesla is supported by tax dollars from the federal and state governments. Federal taxpayers kicked in $7,500 to lower the costs for the first 200,000 vehicles. The taxpayers at the state level across the country are also subsidizing the innovative vehicle manufacturer at even greater rates. Colorado taxpayers kick in another $5,000, while California contributes $2,500 per vehicle.
 
According to the Los Angeles Times, Tesla buyers had garnered in excess of $284 million in federal tax incentives plus $38 million in California rebates. Tesla also makes hundreds of millions per year from other automakers by selling environmental credits in California and more than six other states to manufacturers that cannot meet California’s "zero emissions" sales mandates. Nevada gave $1.3 billion in subsidies to Tesla to build its huge battery factory there.
 
Yet another subsidy is that electric car owners do not pay into the Highway Trust Fund because they do not use gasoline, which is taxed by the gallon to pay for road construction and maintenance. 
 
Investors Business Daily commented “...these taxpayer subsidies are nothing more than welfare for the rich.” The website cited a study National Bureau of Economic Research that found that 90 percent of electric car subsidies are channeled to the top 20 percent of households.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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