The Biden administration on Friday issued guidance that makes much of the country eligible for tax credits intended to offset the cost of installing electric vehicle chargers.
Consumers and businesses can claim the credit for charging equipment installed for public or private use at homes or on business properties. The initiative aims to make it more affordable for Americans to deploy electric vehicle chargers, which will need to be widely available for the United States to meet the Biden administration’s goal of having electric vehicles make up half of new car sales by 2030.
Before Friday’s guidance, it had been unclear which areas could qualify for the tax credit. Eligible chargers were required to be placed in either low-income or non-urban areas, but it was not clear how many locations would fall under the categories.
The Treasury Department opted to make a broad set of locations eligible, covering much of the country outside of major cities. Qualified areas cover roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population, Ashley Schapitl, a Treasury Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, pointed to growth in electric vehicle sales last year and said the administration expected the new guidance to promote more progress this year.
“Additional clarity around the law’s incentive to build new charging infrastructure in communities that need it most will help drive continued progress in 2024,” Mr. Adeyemo said in a statement.
Individuals and businesses purchasing chargers or other eligible refueling equipment can receive a credit of up to 30 percent of the cost of installation.
Proponents of clean energy said the wider availability of tax credits would accelerate installation of chargers across the country, helping to fuel broader adoption of electric vehicles. Sales of such vehicles have been climbing faster than any other major category of automobile, but demand has not grown as much as expected. That has prompted some car manufacturers to pull back on production.
The Biden administration is trying to entice consumers to buy electric vehicles by offering tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle. The federal government is also spending billions of dollars to help build a national network of reliable, high-speed chargers, but the rollout has been slow.
Luke Tonachel, a senior director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that more clarity on the eligible locations could have accelerated the deployment of charging infrastructure last year, and that there were worries that federal officials would not make the credit widely available. But he said the new guidance would now help speed the installation of more chargers.
“I would expect that with this clarity, there are going to be both businesses and consumers that are going to make more investments in charging knowing that this is now available,” Mr. Tonachel said.
Albert Gore III, the executive director of the Zero Emission Transportation Association, an industry group, said the new guidance was a “positive step” that would help attract more investments into rural and lower-income communities.
“It’s going to significantly increase the availability of public charging,” Mr. Gore said. “We’re very pleased to see where the guidance ended up.”