Now here's something that will make fiscal conservatives feel warm and fuzzy.

U.S. buyers of new electric-drive vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf battery-electric and Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug in were eligible for more than $150 million in federal and state incentives in 2011, or more than $8,000 for every one of the approximately 18,000 electric-drive vehicles purchased or leased last year, Edmunds.com's Inside Line reported.

The federal government accounts for about $135 million of those tax credits, with states and local governments covering the rest, according to the website. Leaf buyers are eligible for about $72 million of those tax breaks.

Not surprisingly, California, which isn't exactly flush with cash, was a big payer with more than 5,000 electric-drive vehicles purchased or leased in the Golden State alone. California offered as much as $5,000 in incentives per vehicle during the first half of 2011, and $2,500 for the second half of the year.

InsideLine points out that, while $150 million is a substantial sum, it pales in comparison to the more than $10 billion in low-interest loans that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded to makers of alt-fuel vehicles and their components over the past few years. The publication added that the tax-credit number will likely jump for 2012, with new electric-drive vehicles such as the Ford Focus Electric set to debut and President Obama talking about increasing the EV federal tax break by another $2,500 to $10,000.

And just in time for the election.

*UPDATE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that California is extending tax credits for the purchase of electric-drive vehicles and references the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).

A representative of the CVRP said the program "provides rebates of up to $2,500 for CA purchasers or lessees of light-duty zero-emission vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These rebates are not tax credits, and were not tax credits in the past. The CVRP is funded through CA vessel and vehicle registration fees, as well as smog abatement fees.
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  • 19 Comments
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      @joe You are correct, that is why I turned my back on the kids throwing rocks and had a joyous swing on the old tire! :)
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      I feel like a gorilla in a cage, with kids jumping up and down and throwing rocks at me from the outside. This time I think I will just turn my back on them, and eat a couple of bananas before having a swing on that cool tire Someone hung by a tree from a rope! Great fun, that tire swing is...
      Rob Mahrt
      • 1 Day Ago
      Did you guys know for every $1 you spend in R&D, the benefits continue for longer then the singular year they were spent? And that is why they call it research and development? OMG that is so amazing.
        Rob Mahrt
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Rob Mahrt
        I mean... were there people walking around after the first transcontinental railroad was build in 1962 saying "You know, the government spent $1 million (in 2012 $s) for every train that made its way across the country this year!".
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Day Ago
      to be fair, at least this was on topic.. unlike Witz
      winc06
      • 1 Day Ago
      Wow. 300 million people. $150 million in rebates. 50 cents here. 50 cents there. Pretty soon you are talking about real money. :-)
      Dave R
      • 1 Day Ago
      Money well spent. I wish that more people took advantage of it.
      Edge
      • 1 Day Ago
      I'm a fiscal conservative and I support these incentives. You have to get the ball rolling, if you want us to get off of the insanity of oil. 1) Cleaner air 2) Lower trade deficits 3) Greater savings from fuel expenses allowing funds to support other parts of the economy 4) No oil leakage over time from oil burning engines, negating the damage to our local environment 5) Supporting local power companies, and thus local jobs. In the long run, sounds all fiscally conservative to me.
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Edge
        Really? Subsidizing rich people to buy $100,000 toys to show off their green cred is a good use of money? If we have to have subsidies, I'd prefer they were limited to cars with prices that normal people can buy.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Edge
        I agree with these tax credits as well. Although I'd prefer a sliding scale so that lesser-income buyers get a bigger credit.
          Dave R
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          A good start would be changing the plug-in tax credit to an instant rebate so that one gets the reduced price up front and if you have less than $7,500 (EV, Volt) or $2,500 (Prius plug-in) in tax liabilities for the year you still get the full incentive value.
        BigJ
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Edge
        This conservative agrees with you.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 1 Day Ago
      Ahhhh... time for autobloggreen to troll it's readership again. If you are a fiscal conservative, you know that oil is highly subsidized in a lot of ways - tax break here, tax credit there, military actions against oil-providing countries, etc; the real cost adds up quick! You know that reducing all subsidies from electric cars and oil production/trade would probably result in the free market edging towards buying electric without needing a government handout. So you can be mad about the tax credits, but you're missing the larger picture. Just my 2 cents.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I wouldn't call this one trolling. Although controversial, it is an on topic and timely posting sourcing a recent article (May 1st) in InsideLine.
        marcopolo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        @ 2 Wheeled Menace This will not be a popular observation, but if all the subsidies were removed from the Oil Industry as identified by President Obama's speech, the price of gasoline at the pump would move by less than 1 cent per gallon ! Now, one cent isn't going to make anyone rush out and by an EV ! But, in contrast, removing the subsidies from EV's at this crucial stage would be devastating to the development of EV technology. A more useful suggestion might be to simply levee a 2 cent per gallon tax, to fund the development of alternate fuel technologies. Such a fund would operate like a bank, be politically independent, and eliminate the political angst about government loans for industry.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @marcopolo
          Care to justify your "1 cent per gallon" claim? Obama was not being very specific identifying Oil industry subsidies. So I suppose you could claim he meant some bare minimum. I think most of the oil subsidies are not direct subsidies toward oil companies. Tax breaks, loopholes, supplemental industries, externalities. Oil has had over 100 years, and some of the richest most powerful people shaping politics around the oil industry... making laws very favorable for them.
      Smurf
      • 1 Day Ago
      That's chump change considering the Bush Tax cuts cost 1.8 trillion. Restoring the Clinton era tax cuts will pay for this and 9,999 more programs like it.... I personally am for eliminating all tax breaks and not picking winners and losers. But as long as the government continues going to pick winners and losers for tax breaks, this is a winner in my book....
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