Cash for Clunkers banner with Mercury Sable, Albany, New York
In recent years, governments have increasingly worked to encourage the sales of plug-in electric vehicles.
Incentive programs for the purchase of a low-emission vehicle have been adopted across the world.
The amounts granted and the mechanisms vary according to the individual program, but the goal is the same: reduce emissions.
Romania is no exception and now, according to The Quebec Times, the country has recently doubled its incentives for the purchase of plug-in electric cars.
In comparison, the U.S. federal government grants a federal income-tax credit of up to $7,500, combined with state tax credits or purchase rebates that can go as high as $6,000.
In Romania, the program first launched in 2011, when consumers were offered up to 3,700 euros (close to $4,000) in incentives.
Shell fuel station in Europe
Despite the incentives, the most recent European Alternative Fuel Observatory report notes that only about 160 plug-in electric cars were registered in Romania last year.
In recent years, traffic-related pollution has risen, consistently putting the country’s capital among the most polluted cities in Europe.
That prompted last year's launch of the so-called Rabla program, increasing the rebate to as much as 5,000 euros ($5,500).
This year, the Romanian government announced even more aggressive incentives with a Rabla Plus program that will extend until 2019.
It will now contribute up to 11,000 euros ($12,000) towards the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle.
Buyers of conventional hybrid vehicles (without a plug) will receive a more modest 1,450-euro contribution.
Chrome exhaust pipe
Local media Economica.net projects that up to 100,000 Romanians will take advantage of the higher rebates.
Like many other European countries, Romania has also created a scrappage program to encourage owners to replace the oldest, highest-emission vehicle with cleaner ones.
The program launched in 2005 and it too was modified in 2014, doubling its incentives.
This year, an extra premium has been added when an old, high-polluting vehicle is traded for an electric one.
However, the Romanian government is facing a similar challenge in promoting electric cars to one in the U.S.
The lack of charging infrastructure has put a damper on buyers’ enthusiasm—and it's far worse in the smaller country.
Greenspot electric-car charging station
A program to boost the number of charging stations was launched in 2011 with very little success. Five years later, a mere 10 stations were up and running.
Last year, the government launched a new program to support the installation of charging stations in certain public institutions.
Its goal is to grow their network to at least 20,000 charging points by 2020.
— Sabrina Giacomini