California Cuts Electric Vehicle Incentives For Wealthy

To paraphrase the old John Lennon quote, those upset by California’s new plug-in vehicle rebate policy can rattle your jewelry. The Golden State is going to get serious about addressing the fact that many of California’s plug-in vehicle buyers do indeed have the most gold, according to Cars Direct.

For the upcoming fiscal year, which started July 1, state-funded EV rebates were increased for single-income households of less than about $35,000 and households with incomes of less than about $60,000. For those folks, rebates doubled to $3,000 for a plug-in hybrid and increased to $4,000 from $2,500 for an electric vehicle. The big payout is for fuel-cell vehicles, where perks for people with a modest income total $6,500. None of these amounts include rebates from the federal government.

On the flipside, rebates for people who make more than $250,000 a year are being eliminated for plug-in hybrids and EVs, though fuel-cell vehicle rebates weren’t touched. To put that into perspective, about a quarter of the people who had been receiving rebates had incomes of more than $200,000, and we’re guessing that more than a few of them were buying Tesla Model S vehicles.

All told, the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) has released more than $217 million worth of rebates ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 per driver since 2010, including $87 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30. The good news is that funding for rebates during the upcoming fiscal year will increase to $163 million from $121 million.

The idea of helping out more those with more modest income and cutting rebates for the wealthy has been gaining steam in California. This spring, State Senator Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) proposed putting a $40,000 price limit on vehicles that qualified for state-funded EV perks, though that obviously applied more to vehicle sticker prices than tax returns.

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