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January 20, 2019

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Energy panel looks at how to better promote electric cars in Nevada

Tesla Model X

Paul Sancya / AP

In this Jan. 15, 2013, file photo, Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla Motors chief designer, talks about the doors on the Tesla Model X at media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Tesla will officially unveil the Model X, the electric vehicle maker’s first SUV, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, at its California factory.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s energy committee wants Nevada to speed up the promotion of electric cars and to consider the possibility of giving rebates to those who purchase such vehicles.

Electric cars would reduce the air pollution in Clark and Washoe counties and there were estimates there would be 5 million of these vehicles on the road in the next few years.

But the committee also recognized the electric car would reduce the gasoline tax revenue that is coming to the state and local governments to build and maintain highways and roads.

Committee member Danny Thompson called the electric car “great” but added this compounds the problem of getting enough money for new construction or repairs of the roads. He noted Congress set gas saving standards for vehicles that also cut back the fuel tax receipts.

There was a recommendation before the committee to give an incentive to buyers of electric vehicles — in the form of a sales tax rebate of $2,500.

But the committee shelved that and instead directed state agencies to look at possible incentives that would have to be approved by the Legislature. And the agencies would also examine how to maintain the revenue for highway construction.

Sandoval has proposed that Nevada have an electric highway system in place by 2020. That would include stations or sites where the vehicles could be recharged.

Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, also a committee member, said Nevada has to pay attention to the emerging technology not only of electric cars but of other fuel systems.

Other states are also looking at ways to make up the loss of the gasoline tax revenue to pay for transportation needs.

The committee agreed the deployment of electric vehicles would reduce the air pollution problems in Clark and Washoe. One of the most significant sources of pollution comes from the tailpipe emissions from gasoline-powered cars, according to the document presented to the committee.

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