Buying an electric car has its advantages. You save on fuel costs, you push less smog into the ozone, and in many cases, you own a conversation-starter–something with an almost cultish following.
The initial price on these cars leaves a lot of shoppers with pits in their stomachs, however.
The Chevrolet Volt costs more than a BMW, the Tesla Model S can land in Maserati territory, and even the Nissan Leaf is more expensive than larger, better-equipped cars. But, that’s not the full story, because the government has incentives out there to encourage the purchase of these new cars.
No matter how you slice it, buying an electric car will earn you a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government. However, many state and local governments have kicked in some extra cash to support the purchase, making EV ownership a very affordable decision – if you live in the right place.
Here – in descending order – are the top 10 states that help sweeten the deal even more:
The state of Maryland offers between $600-$1,000 in tax credits, based on which electric vehicle you choose. The incentive is determined based on the car’s battery capacity, meaning a plug-in hybrid with 4.0-10.0kWh of charge earns $600, while a fully-electric vehicle merits the full $1,000.
Oklahoma’s incentive is a little more straightforward. The state offers to fund 10 percent (up to $1,500) for the purchase of a new electric vehicle. Since there aren’t currently any EVs on the market for less than $15,000, that means shoppers should qualify for the full incentive for all new purchases.
South Carolina’s incentive is a little more foggy, but it applies to plug-in hybrids, too. The base credit gives the shopper an additional $667, which is for purchases or leases. On top of that, there’s an additional $111 available if the vehicle has at least 5kWh of battery capacity, and there’s an additional $111 per kWh above and beyond that 5kWh base capacity, too. Short version: if you buy a fully-electric car, you can qualify for up to $2,000.
California falls mid-pack in the list, but folks living in certain cities can qualify for significantly larger credits. California residents qualify for a base incentive of $2,500 through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. However, those living in the San Joaquin Valley could also qualify for an additional $3,000, dependent on which vehicle they choose.
The state of Pennsylvania offers $3,000 in incentives for plug-in hybrid and fully-electric vehicles with large enough battery capacities. And, one of the state’s smaller agencies will also offers purchasers a $50 rebate for the joining the EV family. There are also a few towns that offer regional incentives that can more than double the state’s contribution to your purchase.
For shoppers who want to exchange their traditionally-fueled vehicles for an electric car, the state of Louisiana will kick in up to $3,000 to aid in the purchase. The state also provides a 50 percent tax credit for the cost of installing an electric-vehicle charging station in your home.
For residents of Austin that use Austin Energy, the company will fund up to $1,500 or 50 percent (whichever comes first) of the cost of installing a charging station at home. On top of that, the state provides $3,500 in purchase vouchers for the purchase of an electric vehicle, which the customer can use at the point of sale.
Illinois will contribute up to $4,000 in tax credits for shoppers who take the plunge into electric vehicle ownership. There’s also a 50 percent rebate available for those who decide to install Level 2 charging stations at home, and the registration for your electric car costs $35 less than a traditional vehicle.
Georgia is one of the most aggressive states in pushing for EV adoption. Every alternate-fuel vehicle purchaser is eligible for a 10 percent (up to $2,500) tax credit, based on the purchase price of the vehicle. Electric car buyers get a 20 percent (up to $5,000) income tax credit and you can apply up to $2,500 from a separate rebate for the installation of a Stage 2 charger. Customers of Georgia Power also get a discount on EV charging from the company.
The best incentives in the country are reserved for Colorado residents. For the employed, there’s an income tax credit of up to $6,000 available for EV purchases. If you’re looking to adopt a fleet of electric vehicles, a state program also provides up to $8,260 per vehicle added to the company car fleet,and there are grants available to commercial and multi-family residential property owners who install State 2 chargers on-site.