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Could the electric car credit come back in Georgia?

The chair of the state's House Energy committee is optimistic that the credit could soon replace the additional fee for electric car owners.

Late in the 2019 legislative session, Georgia Rep. Don Parsons (R - Marietta) had a packet of information placed on each House member's desk.

The packet was about climate change.

Parsons is the Chair of the House's Committee on Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications. He sees climate change as an issue that has become over-politicized, at the expense of the state.

“It has become politicized, and I think it’s very unfortunate," Parsons told 11Alive's Matt Pearl. "To me, clean air and these issues – there’s nothing Republican and Democrat about it. It’s an issue we should be looking at for the people of our state – and across the country, for that matter.”

Watch 11Alive's special report, PLAN G, about how Georgians are leading the climate conversation. For more, follow reporter Matt Pearl on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. 

One issue where Georgia was once a leader is the prevalence of electric cars. The state had offered a $5,000 tax credit to electric car owners, but that went away in 2015 and was replaced with a $200 additional fee.

This week, with the next legislative session months away, Parsons expressed optimism that the credit could return.

"I don't want to pass legislation to say, 'You have to drive an electric vehicle'," he said. "But I think we can give incentive to people to do that and encourage them to do that."

During the 2019 session, Rep. Todd Jones (R - South Forsyth) proposed a bill that would reinstate the credit for up to $2,500 for new hybrid or electric car owners. The bill went nowhere, but Parsons maintains the political will is building for it to move forward in 2020.

"Vehicles are one of the largest producers of carbon in the air," he noted.

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'The Civil Rights movement of 2019': how Atlanta found its voice in the climate conversation

How Georgians are taking control of the climate conversation