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Rules Change For California's Electric Vehicle Rebate

An electric vehicle is being charged, March 28, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
An electric vehicle is being charged, March 28, 2016.

Rules Change For California's Electric Vehicle Rebate
In an effort to put more electric cars on the road, the popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Program will no longer be available for high-end customers and will focus instead on lower-income consumers.

Starting this week, more people will have access to California’s rebate program for electric vehicles. But for high-income earners, the program is about to run out of power.

If you can afford to pay cash for an electric BMW, this is probably not good news. New income guidelines go into effect Tuesday for the state’s popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. Up until Monday, anyone who bought an electric vehicle qualified for the rebate, regardless of their income.

Colin Santulli, senior transportation manager for the Center for Sustainable Energy, talks about changes to the state's popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, March 28, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
Colin Santulli, senior transportation manager for the Center for Sustainable Energy, talks about changes to the state's popular Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, March 28, 2016.

“The state wants to increase access to these vehicles to as many consumers as they can,” said Colin Santulli, senior transportation manager at the Center for Sustainable Energy.

“One way to do that is to increase the incentive for the lowest-income consumers in California," he said. "And because of budget constraints, they’re also going to limit the highest-income earners.”

If you make more than $250,000 as a single tax filer, you’ll no longer qualify for the rebate. A couple filing jointly won’t qualify if they earn over $500,000.

The good news is that for households earning less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, that credit is about to go up an extra $1,500. The Center for Sustainable Energy surveyed electric car buyers and found half of them felt they wouldn’t have been able to afford the vehicle without the incentive. The group hopes that the changes will put more electric cars on the road.

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