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Letter: Who needs electric cars?

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I have a problem with justifying the purchase of electric-powered automobiles.

First of all, who's going to pay for highway maintenance? Fuel taxes have been the traditional means of funding for road maintenance and construction?

I hate to repeat this, but it's already been on the Internet, and will probably become a reality. Believe me, the government will figure out a way to tax the amount of electricity it takes to recharge an electric vehicle. Trust me on this, if it can be done, it will, because that's how government works.

Speaking of electric cars, I recently read an article about the new Nissan "Leaf." The writer stated that this car is only recommended as a work vehicle for those who drive less than 50 miles to work. The article went on to discourage long trips. For example, a trip from coast to coast in the Nissan Leaf would take approximately 15 days, which is comparable to the Pony Express of the 1800s. In my opinion, I find it difficult to call that progress.

Another thing that bothers me about electric cars is the fact that, according to the experts, gasoline prices have to remain above $3 per gallon before electric cars will become popular.

According to my calculations, that means that those of us who drive cars with conventional engines are going to be forced to subsidize those who purchase electric cars. Combine that with the generous government tax credits (more subsidies) and dealer discounts that are available to those who purchase electric cars, and like magic, they become affordable.

I don't have a problem with subsidies per se. It's just that once they're initiated, they never seem to go away, i.e. the sales tax, which was supposed to be a temporary thing. It started out small, like 1 or 2 percent, but it's still there, except now it's 7.5 percent.

Subsidies can be a real boost to a company that's struggling financially. However, once they have proven they can be profitable without being subsidized, they should be forced to compete in the free-market system.

Norm Baker

Willmar

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