NEC Director: White House 'Looking at' Subsidies for Electric Cars

By Melanie Arter | November 27, 2018 | 8:44 PM EST

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow (Screenshot)

( - National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the Trump administration will be looking at subsidies for electric cars and other vehicles in the wake of General Motors’ announced layoffs and plant closures.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Kudlow said he spoke to GM Chief Executive Mary Barra about the layoffs Monday and was told it was possible that workers at the plants that are closing could be transferred to other locations.


He said the president’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada “was a great help to the automobile industry” and that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agrees.

“I met with Mary Barra yesterday, and we had a lengthy conversation about the layoffs, the cause of the layoffs. It’s a great disappointment obviously. The president indicated his own disappointment. He believes as frankly the prime minister of Canada Trudeau believes that the U.S.M.C.A. deal was a great help to the automobile industry and to auto workers, and by the way, they made those statements separately,” Kudlow said.

“And yet, GM comes in right after the deal. By the way, that deal will be signed in Argentina with the U.S. and Canadian representative. So there’s great disappointment there. There’s disappointment that it seems like GM would rather build its electric cars in China rather than the United States,” he said.


“We are going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others - whether they should apply or not. I can’t say anything final about that, but we’re looking into it. Again, that reflects the president’s own disappointment regarding these actions,” Kudlow said.

According to the Energy Department website, “The federal government and a number of states offer financial incentives, including tax credits, for lowering the up-front costs of plug-in electric vehicles (also known as electric cars or EVs).”

“The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax credit is for $2,500 to $7,500 per new EV purchased for use in the U.S. The size of the tax credit depends on the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. To find out specific tax credit amounts for individual vehicles, visit’s Tax Credits for Electric Vehicles and Tax Credits for Plug-in Hybrids pages. This tax credit will be available until 200,000 qualified EVs have been sold in the United States by each manufacturer, at which point the credit begins to phase out for that manufacturer. Currently, no manufacturers have been phased out yet.”

“Ms. Barra told me on the other hand - I want to be completely fair here. It’s her business. It may be possible to transfer workers to other plants in Texas and Michigan. I’m not an expert on General Motors. I’m not an analyst - auto analyst - but that’s what she said, but obviously there’s a lot of disappointment even anger. I’ve heard it again from Mr. Trudeau, from President Trump, from Democrats and Republicans,” he added.

When asked whether GM’s decision will adversely affect the U.S. economy going into the Christmas season, Kudlow said, “No, I mean look. I don’t want anybody to get laid off. I want workers to do very well. I want worker wages to do well, and they are. I mean that’s one of the great things.”

Kudlow said the economy was just just riding high on good economic news of adding 250,000 new jobs and low unemployment.

“You know, there’s a certain amount of pessimism that I’m reading about. Maybe it has to do with a really a mild stock market correction. Let’s not forget a couple weeks ago, just on this very point, we had 250,000 new jobs, which was a blockbuster number. Nobody really expected it,” he said.

“It was a 3.1 percent yearly gain in wages and a 3.7 percent unemployment rate. Those are very spiffy numbers by any benchmark and any metric. So again, holiday season layoffs from GM brutal, brutal, alright. Very disappointing. Will it affect the overall economy? I don’t think so,” Kudlow added.


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