Since 2009, California gave a $2,500 tax rebate on zero-emissions vehicles like the Tesla Model S and Prius plug-in hybrid. And here's something that should surprise no one: The majority of those rebates went to households earning $100,000 or more. Now that could change.
A bill sponsored by California Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) attempts to address the fact that nearly 80 percent of those rebates went to households bringing in more than $100k and that almost half of Tesla Model S owners receiving a rebate are making at least $300,000.
"A $2,500 rebate to purchase an electric vehicle is not likely to matter to someone earning over $300,000 a year, but it does make a big difference to someone earning $60k a year," said de León. "Every community deserves clean air, regardless of wealth."
The bill sets out a more complex scheme for rebates, with the L.A. Times reporting that a family of four with an annual income of $53,000 could use state incentives to purchase a cleaner vehicle, along with getting $1,500 for putting an older vehicle out to pasture while still getting the $2,500 for an electric car. Low income families could get a $3,000 break for purchasing a clean air vehicle or get rid of their old car and get the same amount to pay for a public transit pass or car-sharing membership. And if they live in a neighborhood with particularly poor air quality, the incentives could increase.