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Tax-Credit Abuses Shouldn’t Stop Electric-Vehicle Subsidies

October 20, 2019

By Adm. Dennis Blair, U.S.N. (Ret.)

Your editorial “The Electric-Vehicle Subsidy Racket” (Oct. 12) recommends canceling the electric-vehicle credit program in part because of abuse of the credit by some tax filers. If enforcement of the electric-vehicle tax credit is lax, then the IRS must improve enforcement, as it does with other abuses of the tax system. Despite some abuse of the system, the EV credit program provides tremendous energy-security value at relatively modest cost. The failure to diversify energy sources for the American transportation sector risks severe economic and national security consequences. We need to use every tool available to encourage electric vehicles.

America consumes 20% of the daily global oil supply, and despite high domestic production, we still import massive amounts of oil. This extreme dependence on a volatile commodity is why the Pentagon spends $81 billion every year—risking military lives—to secure the global oil supply in unstable regions, and why thousands more troops have been sent to Saudi Arabia.

Our transportation system is 92% dependent on oil, and cutting this dependence drastically is critical for our energy security. Despite recent advances, the EV industry is still nascent and for as long as it competes against mature technologies benefiting from even greater government subsidies, it will remain in its infancy. Ending the tax credit now would be pulling the plug at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

Mr. Blair is a former director of national intelligence and former commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command.