There’s a $7,500 federal tax credit for buyers of plug-in electric vehicles, and there are incentives for building charging stations and battery plants. Are these subsidies a wise way to spend federal dollars?Moving U.S. transportation needs to pollution-free electricity is a laudable goal and should be supported, but we’re going about it the wrong way.Instead of making vehicles with batteries that have to be charged while they’re sitting still, we should build vehicles in which the batteries can be easily and quickly changed out.Then we transition from gasoline stations to charged-battery stations, where drivers can, for a fee, exchange a spent battery for a charged one, similar to filling up the gas tank. The charged-battery station infrastructure would grow first in the big cities, then in towns connecting them. Eventually, transportation by electricity will become practical for moving people and goods across the nation. — Joel Downs, HurstThe cars of the future will be electric. As an owner of a Tesla (“The Best Car Ever Made”), I have experienced the superiority of electric drive over gasoline. And I have noted that the simplicity of the drive system will make electric cars cheaper to build — and to maintain.Costs of production of the car and the battery will go down to more than compete with gasoline cars, as proven through the history of other products that were expensive at first. The cost of computers is a good example. And Elon Musk will provide re-charging stations across the country.If the government provides incentives, this may happen sooner, but it will happen. We who buy the Tesla don’t need the rebates the government pays. We like the magic carpet of transportation that this car gives us. — Jim Beckman, Fort WorthWe have owned a hybrid vehicle for the past seven years, and it gets about 45 miles per gallon. We don’t worry about fluctuating gas prices.Although we received a tax credit for the purchase of that vehicle, that wasn’t a deciding factor.Our next vehicle will be either a plug-in hybrid or a full electric. Again, the government incentive will not be the deciding factor. What bothers me is that when someone says, “Electric cars are too expensive,” no one ever contradicts them and says, “A fully loaded pickup (at $48,000) is too expensive and uses much more fuel.”Over the life of a vehicle, a pickup will be much more expensive to run than an electric car. — Darren and Elise Alexander, Fort WorthWe own a 2012 Chevy Volt and belong to the ideal population for a plug-in electric car — seniors, no children, retirement income and we drive fewer than 40 miles each day. We charge the battery each night for eight hours on 120 volts via the TXU Free Electricity Plan.I have used no “backup gas” since I purchased the car.I agree that the immediate cost benefits for subsidized plug-in electric cars have been over-inflated. But we will achieve the important long-term goal of controlling fossil fuel pollution at the site of electricity generation, rather than tailpipe pollution of millions of individual combustion-engine cars spread across the country contributing to increasing weather and health problems. The increasing savings from the environmental and health benefits alone should dwarf the cost of the proposed one-time limited subsidy for each electric car produced. — Stanley Kurtz, Fort WorthConsidering the state of our economy, the federal tax credit of $7,500 for buyers of electric cars and other subsidies is a profligate waste of taxpayer money.Electric cars are not family-friendly in size, cost or range — less than 100 miles per charge. Their sticker price is about $12,000 more than a conventional car, and they produce more carbon dioxide than regular automobiles, considering the energy used to make the car.Their advertising and incentives are reminiscent of the propaganda of years past urging consumers to purchase diesel-powered vehicles. Supposedly they were cheaper to run, emitted less toxins, etc., but now diesel is about 70 to 75 cents a gallon more expensive than regular gasoline.We will spend more than $7.5 billion over 10 years to promote these electric cars.That’s simply not viable for our pocketbooks, so let’s just yank out the plug! — Delores Cantrell, Fort WorthI do not want my tax money used to subsidize electric cars. They are not practical and are a waste of money. — Clista Hancock, Arlington
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