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.

Related Reading:

Chevy Volt Approved For $5,000 Tax Rebate In California

Electric Car Gaining Favor Among Automakers And Consumers

The Importance Of Electric Vehicles

Sarah Palin Claims To Love The Smell Of Vehicle Emissions (Video)


Image Credit: Flickr - kykorvette

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James H.
James Hager4 years ago

thats funny, its a good thing and a bad thing...first it means they sold enough green cars to go broke which is good....but it sux their out of cash

Mary B.
Mary B.4 years ago

I'm mystified by some of the comments. The amounts were 10 million, and another 2 million, and the funds ran out faster than was anticipated. The program didn't fail, sounds like it was a big success. But as one poster did point out, most likely, it was the rich who bought the cars, got the rebates and left the middle class in the dust. As usual, the poor got nothing to help them.

Abbe A.
Azaima A.4 years ago

Good intentions are not enough.

Hunter W.
Hunter W.4 years ago

"In 2009, the state of California appropriated over $10 million to help promote the production and use of zero-emission vehicles"
Is there even such thing as ZERO emission vehicles?? No. There are plenty of emissions created during the creation and destruction of that car. Besides, I HIGHLY doubt there are any ZERO emission cars. Perhaps low emission, but not zero emission.

Bruce S.
Bruce S.4 years ago

Rich people buy the cars and get BIG tax rebates and the middle class pays the tab. So it went broke? Well DUH!

Dana W.
Dana W.4 years ago

My math must be wrong, because 11 million dollars divided by even $5,000 which is the highest amount, should have helped more than 2,000 people.

Lisa B.
Elizabeth B.4 years ago


Laurie D.
Laurie D.4 years ago

With the economy the way it is (all suspected corruption aside) it's not surprising this program didn't survive. I hope it resurfaces nationwide at a more economically balanced time along with more solar and wind generator credits. We as a nation need to face a sustainable energy future!

Vanessa B.
Vanessa B.4 years ago

As usual a CA state project where the $$'s have run out.

Greenpeace USA
Greenpeace USA4 years ago

such a shame!