Bipartisan effort on Capitol Hill aims to extend alt-fuel tax credits

March 4, 2019. A bipartisan push is under way on Capitol Hill to extend through this year certain tax credits that promote the adoption of alternatively powered vehicles.

   These include an excise tax credit of $0.50 per gallon on alternative fuels; a tax credit of $1 per gallon on biodiesel and renewable diesel; a credit for purchasing new, qualified fuel-cell motor vehicles; and a credit for installing alternative fuel vehicle-refueling property.

   Legislation authorizing those and a laundry list of other tax credits is necessary because the prior Congress failed to extend the credits before they expired by the end of last year.

   The new bill, the Tax Extender and Disaster Relief Act of 2019, was introduced on Feb. 28 by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and the committee’s Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). The measure would extend credits at their current level for 2018 and 2019. There are currently 26 provisions that expired at the end of 2017 and three others that expired at the end of 2018.

   “Congress needs to get out of this bad habit of regular retroactive extensions of these tax provisions,” said Sen. Grassley in a joint statement. “The whole point of these federal tax incentives is to encourage certain behaviors, especially investments in alternative energies, energy efficiency and transportation. The best way to do that is ahead of time, not retroactively.

   Grassely added that many business decisions were made last year based on the “reasonable expectation that they [tax credits] would be extended, since it’s what Congress has consistently done in the past. I hope the House of Representatives acts soon since taxpayers affected by these expired provisions have to file their tax returns in the coming weeks. Thousands of jobs across the country depend on it.”

   “It’s important this is a two-year bill covering 2019, and it includes key renewable energy incentives I’m proud to fight for,” said Sen. Widen. “Filing season for 2018 is already underway, so the Congress should act on this quickly.”