The 78th Oregon Legislative Assembly, trying to ensure that it meets its self-imposed zero-emissions-vehicle mandate, has introduced a bill to provide incentives for a range of alternative-fuel vehicles. House Bill 2092 would hold a public auction of tax credits to create a Zero-Emission Incentive Fund that would put $3,000 on the hood for BEV and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle buyers, $1,500 for hybrid buyers, $1,000 for electric motorcycles and $750 for NEVs.

If the bill is passed during this legislative session, rebates can be applied for from July 1, 2015, and the program would run through January 1, 2022. Assuming all of the tax credit certificates are sold, $15 million per year will be available for rebates, enough to help get 5,000 EVs or 10,000 hybrids on the roads. Those numbers alone aren't enough for the state to achieve its ZEV target, but it would help jump start the sector.

In case you don't know how the tax credit auction works, the state offers tax credit certificates for a certain amount, like $1,000, for sale at a lower cost - in this case, at least 95 percent of the certificate value, so $950. The buyer can then use the certificate come filing time and get up to a $50 break on his taxes. Buyers usually gobble up multiple certificates, though; in a 2013 auction for the state movie subsidy fund just 131 bidders claimed nearly four million dollars in tax credits, the average bid being $30,318.

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