If you’re thinking about cruising into the post-COVID-19 world with a brand new car, truck or SUV, consider the money you might save cruising in one that doesn’t have an engine. Sure, electric vehicles are more expensive to buy upfront, but they pay for themselves in the long run with much lower fuel costs — charging is far cheaper than filling up at the pump. Since EVs have a fraction of the moving parts found in an internal combustion engine, they don’t break down nearly as often and are therefore also much cheaper to maintain.
But you don’t have to wait for cost-of-ownership savings to pile up over time — the federal government is still offering big tax credits worth up to $7,500 for the purchase of qualifying EVs. Because that credit phases out after a manufacturer sells a certain number of cars, some of the most popular EVs have seen their credits diminished or even removed altogether. Even if the EV you’ve had your eye on is too popular for federal incentives, it’s likely that your state has something to contribute.
To find the states that are offering their own financial incentives for drivers to go electric, GOBankingRates used data from Tesla, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center and from the states themselves. In many cases, similar incentives apply to plug-in hybrids, propane-fueled vehicles, natural-gas vehicles and other alternative-fuel cars and trucks. Read on to learn how you can save even more by upgrading to electric depending on where you live.
Arizona honors the Reduced Vehicle License Tax, which changes the rate to $4 for every $100 your EV is worth. That calculation is based on a valuation system that weighs factors like assessed value and depreciation. EV drivers can get special plates that give them HOV lane privileges and there are also utility incentives that offer reduced rates for charging during certain times of the day. In Phoenix and Tucson, EV drivers are exempt from emissions testing.
California has the most comprehensive and far-reaching incentive system of any state in America. The California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project pays thousands of dollars back to owners of qualifying EVs, provided they meet the project’s income requirements. Those with the lowest incomes qualify for even more. There’s also the California Clean Fuel Reward, which is good for $1,500 off the purchase of a qualifying EV. The Golden State is also home to the country’s longest list of utility and local incentives. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars are available for those who qualify for things like home or business charging station installation.
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Like California, Colorado has a long list of incentives for all kinds of EVs, including $4,000 to buy a qualifying EV or $2,000 to lease one. That offer is good through 2021, but the rebate phases out beginning in 2022 until it falls to a $1,500 lease rebate and a $2,000 purchase rebate between 2023-26. The rebate is even bigger for pickups and even bigger than that for medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks, although those rebates begin to phase out next year, too. Also like California, Colorado offers a bunch of utility and local incentives, as well.
The Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate (CHEAPR) is now written into law after a successful pilot program. Connecticut residents can get up to $5,000 toward the purchase or lease of a qualifying EV. Currently, more than 30 different vehicles are eligible. Utility incentives are available in some municipalities and EV drivers pay a reduced fee for vehicle registration and are exempt from state emissions testing. Cities like Norwich offer utility incentives, as well.
The Delaware Clean Vehicle Rebate Program offers a cash rebate, not a tax credit, that’s good for up to $2,500 toward the purchase of a qualifying EV, although other alt-fuel vehicles are on the list, too. The program was extended in 2020, but it’s currently set to expire at the end of June 2021. Larger vehicles are eligible for even more generous rebates under the state’s Heavy Duty Vehicle Program.
Florida’s lackluster EV incentives are limited to this, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center: “Local governments may offer funding to property owners within their jurisdiction to help finance EVSE installations on their property or enter into a financing agreement for the same purpose.” There are also some utility and private incentives available depending on where you live.
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Georgia’s EV incentives are nearly as paltry as those in neighboring Florida. Unlike the Sunshine State, Georgia’s offerings at least come with a specific dollar amount, but nothing that would make Floridians want to rush out and trade in their gas-guzzlers for Teslas. Customers of Georgia Power might be eligible for a $250 rebate for installing a Level 2 charger in their homes.
Although it’s far from the Southeast mainland, Hawaii’s EV incentives are about as spartan as those in Florida and Georgia. Qualifying residents can receive a charging station rebate and Hawaiian Electric customers might be eligible for a discounted smart charging station. There are also incentives that pay dividends over time, like unrestricted HOV lane access and free parking. Hawaiian Electric customers might also be eligible for reduced rates for time-of-use-based charging.
Idahoans in the market for an EV don’t have too many homegrown incentives to give up gas. There’s a state exemption from vehicle testing, and little else. There is, however, a special rebate program for people and business owners who trade in diesel medium- and heavy-duty trucks for EVs or other clean fuel alternatives.
EVs are exempt from testing in Illinois, but there aren’t any other big rebates or juicy incentives like you find in other states. Reduced rates are available to qualifying ComEd customers.
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AES Indiana was the first utility in the state to offer EV owners reduced rates. Following that trend, Indiana Michigan Power is offering its customers $500 for signing up and if they take advantage of off-peak at-home charging, they can charge enough to drive 4,700 miles per year for free.
MidAmerican Energy customers who bought a qualifying EV after Jan. 1 can apply for a $500 rebate. There’s also a $1,500 credit available toward the installation of a charging station for those who qualify.
Louisiana residents who are customers of Southwestern Electric Power Company and who are considering installing a Level 2 charging station could be eligible for a $250 rebate. Beyond that, residents could be eligible for a 10% tax credit up to $2,500 for the purchase of a new EV or another alternative fuel vehicle.
Maine is offering its eco-conscious residents up to $2,000 in the form of a rebate for the purchase of a new EV. Plug-in hybrids are good for up to $1,000. For qualifying low-income residents, those rebates go all the way up to $5,500.
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Maryland’s EVSE Rebate Program delivers up to a full 40% off the purchase and installation of a charging station up to $700. EV drivers can also apply for a permit that allows unrestricted HOV lane usage. BGE, Pepco, Delmarva Power and Potomac Edison offer extra incentives like rebates for the installation of Level 2 charging stations and reduced rates for off-peak charging.
MOR-EV stands for “Massachusetts offers rebates for electric vehicles” — and the program lives up to its name. Qualifying applicants can receive up to $2,500 for the purchase of an EV. Qualifying hybrids are worth up to $1,500.
In Michigan, the government itself doesn’t offer rebates directly, but EVs are exempt from emissions inspections and the state’s big power companies offer their customers several incentives. That includes Consumer Energy, Indiana Michigan Power and DTE Energy, which offer reduced rates for charging and rebates for equipment like charging station installation.
MnPASS is an automatic toll payment system for high-occupancy lanes across Minnesota, and it’s part of a unique kind of incentive program that promotes both EVs and MnPASS. The program, which is still in the pilot stage, offers a one-time $250 credit to the MnPASS account of residents who buy or lease a qualifying EV between Nov. 1, 2019, and Oct. 31, 2022.
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EVs are exempt from emissions inspections in Nevada and NV Energy offers reduced rates for charging during off-peak hours. NV Energy also offers rebates and credits for the installation of charging stations and other equipment.
Members of the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op can receive up to $1,000 for the purchase of a qualifying EV. The co-op also offers $300 rebates for the installation of up to two residential charging stations for a total of $600 per customer.
New Jersey boasts several generous incentives, including a zero-emissions vehicle tax exemption, HOV lane usage and toll discounts on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.
New York State’s Drive Clean Rebate program offers between $500 and $2,000 toward the purchase of a clean car, depending on the cost of your EV and its mile range. Dozens of models are eligible, and there are five rebate tiers: $500, $500, $1,100, $1,700 and $2,000.
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EV drivers in North Carolina are exempt from emissions inspection and testing and are eligible for unrestricted HOV lane. Beyond that, the state isn’t advertising any rebates or credits.
Oregon offers some of the most significant EV incentives in America. Several of the state’s big power companies offer rate discounts and rebates for equipment installation. The real draw, however, is the $2,500 rebate that Oregon gives to the owners of qualifying EVs from around 20 manufacturers.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is currently accepting applications for the state’s Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate program. It’s good for a rebate of up to $750 toward the purchase of a qualifying EV, although you can get $1,000 for the purchase of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle or $500 for other clean cars.
The only thing EV drivers in Rhode Island have going for them is an exemption from the state’s emissions testing and inspection. People’s Power and Light offers reduced rates for charging, too.
In Tennessee, the Knoxville Utilities Board offers rebates of $400 toward an in-home Level 2 charger. Beyond that, there isn’t much for EV drivers to look forward to in the Volunteer State.
In Texas, Austin Energy has more than 1,000 Level 2 charging stations, and Texas residents can use them to charge their EVs for $4.17 per month. The company also offers rebates of up to $1,200 for the installation of in-home charging ports.
Statewide, EV drivers are exempt from emissions testing and HOV lane rules in Utah. In Salt Lake City specifically, the purchase of a qualifying electric car comes with the privilege of free metered parking.
Drive Electric Vermont is putting real money on the table to get its residents to go electric. Eligible Vermonters who meet the income requirements can receive up to $4,000 toward the purchase of an electric vehicle. There are also a bunch of local and utility perks, including bill credits and rebates.
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Some incentives in Virginia come from utility companies — Dominion Energy and the Appalachian Power Company offer reduced time-of-use rates and equipment rebates. The state offers an alternative fuel tax exemption, as well.
As of 2019, the purchase and lease of qualifying EVs are exempt from sales tax in Washington state, but that exemption will be reduced and phased out through 2025. Two of its utility companies offer incentives like equipment rebates and reduced power rates during off-peak hours.
Residents of the District of Columbia pay a reduced vehicle registration fee and get a tax credit for up to 50% off the cost of an in-home charging station.
Although the state doesn’t offer any incentives directly, EV drivers in Wisconsin have access to some of the best utility programs in America. Rebates and credits are available through at least nine power company programs.
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Methodology: To determine which EV incentives are available in each state, GOBankingRates used “Tesla’s Electric Vehicle & Solar Incentives” resource as a guide. Then, GOBankingRates consulted the websites for each of the 35 states on the Tesla list to find out which incentives are available to EV drivers in those states. In some cases, data from the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center was used in addition to — or rarely, instead of — state data.