Skip to main content

PSA: California Clean Vehicle Rebate is increasing for low- and moderate-income drivers, and going away for high-income drivers on March 29


We knew it was coming for a while, but today the California Air Resources Board (CARB) confirmed the exact timeframe. The California Clean Vehicle Rebate (CVRP) will be increasing for low- and moderate-income drivers, while it will also introduce a cap for high-income drivers.

The change will apply statewide to vehicle purchases or leases effective March 29, 2016.

CARB explains that for low- and moderate-income consumers, CVRP rebates for all types of eligible light-duty passenger vehicles are being increased by $1,500. The agency based the qualifications for being “low- and moderate-income consumers” to having household incomes less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.

It will limit the pool of applicants for the additional $1,500 to only a few people able to afford a new car. For an individual to qualify for the increased rebates, the gross annual income limit is $35,640, and for a household of four, it is $72,900.

Higher income consumers are not eligible to any rebate from the CVRP and they are considered based on the following incomes:

  • $250,000 for single filers
  • $340,000 for head-of-household filers
  • $500,000 for joint filers

In between the limits, the rebates remain the same: $2,500 for BEVs and $1,500 for PHEVs.

Fuel cell cars are the big winners of the new program since their rebate is now increased to $5,000 and the cap for high-income buyers does not apply to them. It seems like CARB’s logic is that no one is buying fuel cell cars anyway:

“[Fuel Cell cars] represent less than 1 percent of CVRP’s applications and qualify for rebates of $5,000.”

There’s probably a good reason for that…

According to the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), the CVRP has issued more than $291 million in rebates for more than 137,200 vehicles since 2010.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email:

Through, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.