WASHINGTON: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday the Trump administration wants to end subsidies for electric cars and other items, including renewable energy sources.
Asked about plans after General Motors Co announced U.S. plant closings and layoffs last week, Kudlow pointed to the US$2,500-to-US$7,500 tax credit for consumers who buy plug-in electric vehicles, including those made by GM, under federal law.
"As a matter of our policy, we want to end all of those subsidies," Kudlow said. "And by the way, other subsidies that were imposed during the Obama administration, we are ending, whether it’s for renewables and so forth."
Asked about a timeline, he said: "It’s just all going to end in the near future. I don’t know whether it will end in 2020 or 2021."
The tax credits are capped by Congress at 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer, after which the subsidy phases out. GM has said it expects to hit the threshold by the end of 2018, which means under the current law, its tax credit scheme would end in 2020. Tesla Inc said in July it had hit the threshold. Other automakers may not hit the cap for several years.
Experts say the White House cannot change the cap unilaterally. U.S. President Donald Trump last week threatened to eliminate subsidies for GM in retaliation for the company's decision.
Kudlow made clear any changes in subsidies would not just affect GM. "I think legally you just can’t," he said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and David Shepardson; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Tim Ahmann and Sonya Hepinstall)