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Advanced-powertrain vehicle advocates in California and Maryland can rejoice over a chilled glass of Napa Valley's finest white wine and a heaping plate of Baltimore's best crab cakes. That's because both states will continue to make life a little financially sweeter for plug-in vehicle drivers. It's a short-term fix for California but potentially longer-term for Maryland.

The Golden State, which ran out of funds for its zero-emission and plug-in vehicle incentives earlier this month, has cleared another $25 million to take care of vehicle-rebate applicants through June 30, the end of the state's fiscal year, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). California provides a $2,500 incentive for zero-emissions cars and $1,500 for plug-in hybrids.

As for Maryland, on April 7, that state's General Assembly passed a provision (the governor still needs to sign it into law) that extends an electric-vehicle tax credit by three years to June 30, 2017. The law would also boosts the maximum possible plug-in vehicle incentive to $3,000 from $1,000. Additionally, the tax credit for plug-in vehicle recharging stations would increase to $900 for individuals and $5,000 for businesses from the current $400. Read Maryland's details here and check out CARB's statement below.

On the national level, the current maximum tax credit of $7,500 could be increased to $10,000. At least, that's what will happen if Vermont Representative Peter Welch follows through on his plan to propose such an increase and it gets voted into law. Granted, there are a lot of "ifs" and "maybes" involved, but it's something to keep an eye on.
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Success of state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project prompts increased funding

California Air Resources Board votes to expand waiting list with additional $25 million


On the heels of another record-breaking month of rebates for the cleanest cars in California, the Air Resources Board today voted to immediately expand the funding and current waiting list for incentive funds that help consumers buy zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The Board's action expanded the current $5 million waiting list, established last month, by an additional $25 million to accommodate expected market growth into the summer. The move is in response to the growing demand for zero-emission and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles over the past two years. Currently, about 3,500 rebates are being processed each month totaling between $6 million and $7 million. March marked another record-setting month with 4,800 rebates totaling $9.8 million.

"Thanks to the Legislature and Governor Brown, California consumers can get up to $2,500 back when they buy an ultra-clean vehicle," said California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "These incentives have helped make California the fastest-growing market for zero emission vehicles in North America."

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project has exceeded all expectations. ARB has issued about $100 million for about 50,000 rebates since the program began in March 2010, and plans to continue supporting the project in the coming years.

Applications are being accepted for rebates while the additional funding for the program is being put in place. Consumers placed on the waiting list will receive their rebates at the end of September. Eligibility criteria and rebate amounts for the current fiscal year (2013-14, which ends June 30) will apply to these rebates.

Under the program, individuals, nonprofits, government entities and businesses can get up to a $2,500 state rebate. That can be combined with an up to $7,500 federal tax credit and other regional incentives.

Funding for the continuation of the program for the coming fiscal year is currently in the governor's proposed budget. That funding will be allocated pending the Legislature's passage of the budget and adoption of the annual CVRP spending plan by the ARB in June.

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project is administered statewide by the California Center for Sustainable Energy. For more information on the program and which cars and models qualify for rebates, click here.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.