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Saturday, April 22, 2017

On Earth Day, Tesla owners count their tax savings, praise emissions-free driving

The Summon feature on my Tesla smartphone app allows me to start and back up my Model S or drive it forward from outside the car. That came in handy after a heavy rainstorm flooded my garage.

Editor's note: If you are in the market for a Tesla (Model S or Model X), using my referral code http://ts.la/victor3828 will save you $1,000 and entitle you to unlimited Supercharging.


On Earth Day and every day, reducing your carbon footprint pays handsomely.

On the federal tax return I filed for 2016, I was able to take a $1,425 credit for my purchase of an all-electric Tesla Model S in April 2015.

That reduced the federal taxes I paid over two years by the $7,500 maximum allowed on the Model S.

I also saved about $5,600 in New Jersey sales tax when I purchased the zero-emissions luxury car -- a low-slung, four-door hatchback with lightning acceleration and sports-car handling.

My federal tax return also included a residential energy credit of $1,750, which I have been taking annually since I installed solar panels on my home in 2009.

Money from the sun

Those panels generate all the electricity I need during as many as six months every year, and they also earn solar credits I can sell through a middleman to my utility, Public Service Electric & Gas.

In the first two years I had the panels, I was able to sell my solar credits for a total of $11,000.

In effect, I don't pay for the electricity I use to charge my car in the garage overnight.

And my Model S came with free lifetime use of Tesla's proprietary network of Superchargers on road trips, such as our annual visit to the jazz festival in Montreal.

On March 28, I saw these two gas guzzlers parked in spaces reserved for "low emissions" vehicles at the Whole Food Market in Closter, above and below.
Emissions from road hogs such as this BMW and other vehicles kill about 53,000 people prematurely every year, says Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Service loaner

I had my second annual service at Tesla's Paramus service center this month.

The Model S has proven to be the most reliable car I've ever owned.

The service center didn't have a Model S to loan me so Tesla paid for a rental from Hertz, a new Nissan Maxima sedan.

I admire the swoopy styling, but compared to my Tesla the Maxima had a noisy 6-cylinder gasoline engine, and the interior was far too busy and filled with cheap plastic.

I couldn't get the cruise control to work.

The car vibrated when I was stopped at a red light, and the engine noise was especially annoying during hard acceleration.

Still, the Maxima loaner only made me appreciate even more the near-silent and effortless driving I've enjoyed for the past two years in my Tesla.