After a three-year hiatus, Texas has reinstated purchase rebates for plug-in electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles.
Texans who buy electric cars after Sept. 1 can get a $2,500 rebate from the state, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News, in addition to the $7,500 tax credit from the federal government.
Buyers of fuel-cell cars get the same $2,500.
Texas being oil country, those who buy cars that run on compressed natural gas or liquid propane gas get an even bigger rebate of $5,000.
The rebates apply to any new electric, fuel-cell, propane, or natural gas vehicle bought or leased in Texas that is not purchased as part of a fleet—with one big exception: Because the program is administered through Texas car dealerships, Teslas are not eligible. Texas is one of the states that bars Tesla sales because the company does not use franchised dealers.
Rebates are pro-rated on leased cars for the term of the lease.
Buyers have a short window to earn the rebates. Texas has allocated up to $7.3 million to fund the program, which will expire on May 31, 2019 or when the money runs out. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can issue a maximum of 2,000 rebates for electric and fuel-cell vehicles and 1,000 rebates for natural gas cars.
The move aligns Texas with 45 other states that offer purchase rebates for electric cars.
The last time Texas offered alternative-fuel rebates, 40 percent went unclaimed. Most of those were for natural-gas cars; 95 percent of the rebates for electric cars were distributed.
Electric-car advocates are lobbying the Commission on Environmental Quality to spend up to $31 million from the Volkswagen diesel settlement to build charging infrastructure for electric cars. Other proposals include spending the money to upgrade older diesel truck fleets to cleaner modern engines.