How California's clean vehicle rebate benefits the poor and middle class

To the editor: The article "California limits hybrid rebates to households earning less than $500,000" completely missed the point of California's clean vehicle rebate program.

The rebate is available for buyers of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids. These cars produce zero or low emissions and reduce smog, address climate change and help protect public health. The purpose of the program is to get more of these vehicles built and onto our roads and reduce the number of gasoline cars.


The program benefits everyone in California because we all breathe the same air. Lower-income people in dense urban areas benefit the most because they tend to breathe the worst air.

And despite the comments from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., the program is hardly "welfare for the rich."

If you carefully examine the graph that accompanied the article, the bulk of the rebates were for the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt and the Toyota Prius — all cars that, before the rebate, are priced around or slightly below the average for a new car in the United States.

With the rebates, and considering the savings in avoided gasoline and upkeep costs, the vehicles become quite affordable for the average new-car buyer, which is the point of the program.

Joel Levin, San Francisco

The writer is executive director of Plug In America.

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