California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project Goes Broke
In 2009, the state of California appropriated over $10 million to help promote the production and use of zero-emission vehicles. Despite a $2 million boost from the California Energy Commission on May 26, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) recently announced that the program has run out of money earlier than predicted.
Slated to last until the end of 2011, the project distributed about 2,000 rebates worth a total of $11.1 million in just about 27 months.
Rebate amounts ranged from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the vehicle purchased. Zero-emissions passenger cars (such as the Nissan Leaf), neighborhood electric vehicles and electric motorcycles were eligible for the rebates (LA Times).
A statement on the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) website states that the ARB expects FY 2011-2012 funding to become available later this year.
“Even with proposed reductions in the rebate amount for next fiscal year, California consumers will still have access to $10,000 in clean vehicle incentives through the combined California rebate and federal tax credit,” ARB spokeswoman Karen Caesar told the LA Times, noting that the U.S. government offers its own $7,500 tax credit on zero-emissions vehicles.
In 2009, a study by the University of California, Berkeley, predicted that by 2030 electric cars would account for 64 percent of U.S. light-vehicle sales by 2030 and 24 percent of the U.S. light-vehicle fleet.
The ARB hopes to triple the amount of funding to the program for the 2011-2012 fiscal year to $15 million which, with reduced award amounts of $2,500 to $5,000, would provide around 5,600 additional rebates. The ARB will will conduct a public hearing July 21 to consider new rebate amounts for 2011-2012.
Image Credit: Flickr - kykorvette