Puerto Rico is incentivizing its citizens with its own version of rebates: reducing excise taxes on hybrids and all-electric vehicles. This is an island full of excise taxes on a lot of things, including cars, lottery winnings, cigarettes, liquor, hotel rooms and cement. The government in the U.S. territory wants to cut combustible fuel usage and is thus adding excise tax breaks for those purchasing a hybrid or EV. Previous excise tax refunds of up to $2,000 have been increased.
Gov. Luis G. Fortuna has signed a new law granting a rebate on the excise tax offering a good deal on hybrids and an even better one for EVs. Through 2016, anyong buying an electric vehicle will get a 100 percent excise tax exemption. For those buying hybrids, there's a 65 percent exemption, up to a maximum of $8,000, through July 1, 2013. The exemption reduces progressively beyond that – a 50 percent maximum not to exceed $6,000 through July 1, 2014, and then in successive years it goes to 40 percent (up to $4,000) and 20 percent (up to $2,000).
While Puerto Rico is part of the U.S., it looks like you won't qualify for a federal $7,500 tax credit if you were to buy a Tesla Model S or a Nissan Leaf there. That's too bad – electric vehicles, especially Tesla models, are more expensive than high mileage internal combustion engine small cars, and consumers are looking for the best deals they can find, with many of them calculating all the numbers.