California was giving out $2,500 in rebates to buyers of battery-electric vehicles; $1,500 for plug-in hybrids; and $5,000 for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. In addition to those vehicles, rebates for cleaner and greener heavy-duty trucks may also be eliminated.
Granted, the door may not be shut yet. California Gov. Jerry Brown still needs to sign the budget, and the green-minded governor may find another way to extend perks doled out to state buyers of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Part of the problem was that the state's revenue from its "cap-and-trade" program, in which oil refiners acquire emissions credits that are eventually auctioned off, was less than expected.
Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board said it would start tweaking its plug-in vehicle-rebate system. CARB had earmarked half a billion dollars for "Low Carbon Transportation" efforts through September 2017, including $230 million for the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP). California has funded almost $300 million in rebates for about 140,000 vehicles during the past six years. CARB had also unveiled plans to boost clean-vehicle rebates for Californians in the lower-income bracket, while eliminating them for the state's top earners. Specifically, lower earners were to get a rebate boost of $1,500 for eligible vehicles, while individuals with an annual income of $250,000 or joint-filers making at least $500,000 had the rebates on their Teslas — ahem — electric vehicles eliminated.