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We knew it was coming for a while, but today the California Air Resources Board (CARB) confirmed the exact timeframe. The California Clean Vehicle Rebate (CVRP) will be increasing for low- and moderate-income drivers, while it will also introduce a cap for high-income drivers.

The change will apply statewide to vehicle purchases or leases effective March 29, 2016.

CARB explains that for low- and moderate-income consumers, CVRP rebates for all types of eligible light-duty passenger vehicles are being increased by $1,500. The agency based the qualifications for being “low- and moderate-income consumers” to having household incomes less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

It will limit the pool of applicants for the additional $1,500 to only a few people able to afford a new car. For an individual to qualify for the increased rebates, the gross annual income limit is $35,640, and for a household of four, it is $72,900.

Higher income consumers are not eligible to any rebate from the CVRP and they are considered based on the following incomes:

  • $250,000 for single filers
  • $340,000 for head-of-household filers
  • $500,000 for joint filers

In between the limits, the rebates remain the same: $2,500 for BEVs and $1,500 for PHEVs.

Fuel cell cars are the big winners of the new program since their rebate is now increased to $5,000 and the cap for high-income buyers does not apply to them. It seems like CARB’s logic is that no one is buying fuel cell cars anyway:

“[Fuel Cell cars] represent less than 1 percent of CVRP’s applications and qualify for rebates of $5,000.”

There’s probably a good reason for that…

According to the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), the CVRP has issued more than $291 million in rebates for more than 137,200 vehicles since 2010.

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