California cuts green car subsidy in half, down to $2,500
LOS ANGELES -- California's zero-emission vehicle subsidy for consumers has been cut in half under a program budget approved Thursday by the state's environmental regulator.
Consumers who buy eligible electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell vehicles in California now qualify for a $2,500 rebate under the California Air Resources Board's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, the board said.
Since the program was launched in 2009, it had offered a $5,000 rebate -- among the largest state subsidies for EV purchases in the nation -- to consumers who buy electric cars or other eligible zero-emission passenger vehicles.
But high demand exhausted the program's funding last month. The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that about 500 consumers who bought electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Roadster are on a waiting list and will collect the $2,500 rebate.
To deal with growing demand, the pool of money to fund the rebates was increased to between $15 million and $21 million for CARB's current fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, according to CARB's announcement. A total of $11.1 million was allocated in the program's first two years, according to CARB spokeswoman Mary Fricke.
The increased cash pool and lowered rebate amount are aimed at making the incentive available to more consumers, according to CARB's Web site. The changes are projected to fund about 6,000 rebates for consumers who apply for the program on a first-come basis, Fricke said.
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