Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf

If you're a California resident looking to cash in on the $5,000 tax rebate for the purchase of a plug-in vehicle, you'd better act quickly. Jay Frieland, legislative director of Plug In America, told the Los Angeles Times that the rebate is likely to run out by the middle of 2011. In August 2010, Mike Ferry, transportation programs manager of California's Center for Sustainable Energy, the group that manages the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, estimated there would be $8 million remaining in the rebate fund come December 2010. The fund, set up by the California Air Resource Board, gives the purchaser of each eligible plug-in bought in California $5,000, and the fund has enough to cover about 1,600 vehicles. According to Friedland, "There's likely to be more than that sold before July. We believe the rebates will run out."

If you do decide to buy, there are a couple of things you should be aware of. First, it is a tax rebate, so you won't be able to claim the money until you file for taxes. Secondly, there is the matter of buying vs. leasing and if you lease a Nissan Leaf (for example) will get you the full rebate amount instantly since it is factored into the lease agreement. With the wait times for both the Chevy Volt and Leaf being several months or longer, if you don't already have a reservation, you might find yourself out of luck.

[Source: Los Angeles Times via All Cars Electric]