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California's New $5,000 Electric Car Rebate

If you were thinking about buying an electric car in California, this will be welcome news: Rebates of up to $5,000 per light-duty vehicle are...


If you were thinking about buying an electric car in California, this will be welcome news:
\nRebates of up to $5,000 per light-duty vehicle are available for individuals and business owners who purchase or lease new eligible zero-emission or plug-in vehicles until the funding runs out. Certain zero-emission commercial vehicles are eligible for rebates up to $20,000.
This program just went into effect yesterday. The passenger cars that are eligible are the Tesla Roadster, the Nissan Leaf, and those golf-cart-style Gem cars. You can see a full list here.Christopher DeMorro wonders if the timing is right:
It is a fine idea, but I think California could have waited a few more months to give would-be buyers more options. $5,000 off of a $100,000 car isn't going to make it suddenly affordable for many people… but $5,000 off of a $32,000 Volt (after the $7,500 federal tax credit is applied) could make a much bigger difference. Will there be any money left by the time the Volt and other major electric cars finally hit showrooms this fall?
I think he's probably right. A $5,000 rebate won't make the difference for anyone seriously consider a $100,000 Tesla Roadster and it's probably a larger rebate than you need to get people to buy the $25,000 Nissan Leaf. The program won't do any harm, of course, but it doesn't seem like the best use of the money.In fact, I'd like to see the economic pressure coming from another direction: Allow the price of gas to rise closer to its market price by ending subsidies or raising gas taxes and encourage people to purchase cleaner cars in a way that adds to public funds.
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