Clean vehicle rebates may run out by July, CARB warns

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Updated Jun 8, 2011

The California Air Resources Board on Tuesday, June 7, announced that rebates for Californians purchasing zero-emissions vehicles through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project may run out by July due to high consumer demand. The rebate program may be approved for additional funds at CARB’s July board hearing and upon passage of the state budget with funds for rebates becoming available in the fall timeframe.

Should funds run out before new funding is available, applicants will be placed on a waiting list for funding. “California drivers responded even more enthusiastically than predicted to the advanced technology vehicles the car manufacturers are currently offering,” says Mary Nichols, CARB chairman. “This is a wonderful problem to have, since it means the air will be getting cleaner and less gasoline will be burned.”

CARB says that in response to consumer demand and to increase the number of rebates available, it is proposing to triple the funding allocation for the rebate program next fiscal year to between $12 million and $17 million, and reduce the rebate amount by half – from $5,000 to $2,500 – in order to meet increasing demand. The additional funding is projected to allow for about 6,000 rebates – four times the number funded this year.

Launched in March 2010, vehicle rebates are offered on a first-come first-served basis for passenger cars, zero-emissions motorcycles and select commercial electric vehicles. Currently, rebates range from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on vehicle type. CARB’s $9.1 million project recently was increased by $2 million by the California Energy Commission to fund an additional 400 vehicles. About 1,400 rebates have been issued to date.

CARB says that even with the anticipated increased number of rebates available, funding is limited and may not be sufficient to meet consumer demand next year, so consumers are encouraged to apply early. Information on the rebate project, including an application and required documents, list of eligible vehicles and real-time funding status is available at: