Running on Empty: California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program Funds May Be Tapped Out By July

Electric CarIn what the Air Resources Board (ARB) is calling “a wonderful problem to have,” the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) is projected to run out of funds by next month. I don’t think this comes has a huge shock to those of us that are Angelinos. After all, we are pretty accustomed to seeing electric vehicle charging stations all over town… someone must be using them! Among those using them are the approximately 1,700 people that have, thus far, received a rebate for purchasing a zero emission vehicle.

As I reported here late last year, the CVRP was initially funded with $9.1 million in March of 2010 and buyers of qualifying electric vehicles would receive $5,000. The funding was increased by an additional $2 million in May of this year by the California Energy Commission. Although the boost will allow for an extra 400 vehicles to be funded, the demand has been greater than expected. According to the CVRP’s website, only about $1.1 million (or about 11% of the total) is currently remaining in the fund.

With the rebates handed out on a first-come-first-served basis, those that purchase after the funds are exhausted will be placed on a wait list. The ARB is hopeful that additional funds will be approved at their July board hearing and subsequently included in a new state budget such that they will be available again in the fall. The ARB is proposing to increase the funding for the CVRP next year to between $12 million and $17 million. They are also proposing to cut the rebate amount in half to $2,500 so that more rebates can be handed out. This would result in a projected 6,000 rebates.

Bottom line: if you are considering purchasing a zero emission vehicle and are counting on that rebate, hurry up! Or…you may have to wait longer than you thought…