Oregon halts electric vehicle rebates due to demand, money

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon will temporarily suspend rebates for buying or leasing an electric vehicle for a year starting in May because too many people are applying and the program is running out of money, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday.

A growing number of Oregonians are buying or leasing electric vehicles, with over 60,600 registered in the state.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced Wednesday the suspension of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program that has disbursed more than $71 million over five years to help people buy or lease roughly 25,000 of those vehicles. A fifth of the rebates went to low- and moderate-income households, state data shows.

“Even though we’re announcing a temporary suspension, it really shows the program is a victim of our own success,” Rachel Sakata, senior air quality planner with the department. “We’re one of the top states in the nation in terms of the percentage of EV sales.”

Oregon’s Department of Transportation estimates that people will be driving 1.5 million electric vehicles in the state by 2035. About 3.2 million passenger vehicles are registered in Oregon today.

Since the end of 2018, the state has offered two cash rebates for Oregon drivers who buy or lease electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids under $50,000. The standard rebate of up to $2,500 is available regardless of income and can be received at participating dealers. The “charge ahead” rebate of $5,000 is aimed at low- or moderate-income households and must be accessed via a mail-in application. The two rebates can be combined for up to $7,500 cash back.