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California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project runs out of money

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The California Air Resources Board ran out of money for its Clean Vehicle Rebate Project this week. The program had doled out $11.1 million over the past 27 months to buyers of zero- emissions vehicles in the state.

Almost 2,000 rebates have been issued or are in the process, according to an ARB spokesperson. 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.

The ARB proposes to triple the amount of funding to the program for the 2011-2012 fiscal year to $15 million. The rebate amount for zero-emissions vehicles, however, is likely to be reduced, from $5,000 to $2,500 in order to meet demand. An ARB spokesperson said the proposed funding would allow about 5,600 rebates after accounting for administrative costs -- three times the amount of rebates funded to date under the program. The ARB will will conduct a public hearing July 21 to consider new rebate amounts for 2011-2012.

“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,’ said ARB spokeswoman Karen Caesar, noting that the U.S. government offers a $7,500 tax credit on zero-emissions vehicles.

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The Clean Vehicle Rebate was funded under the California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean Air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007. The law allowed the ARB to fund advanced transportation technologies to help meet air quality and climate change goals.

-- Susan Carpenter


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