GreenCars 101
Vehicle Basics

EV Incentives Overview

Dave Nichols
Jan 2024
Great new technology and performance are just two reasons to get an electric car. There are also financial incentives - beyond what you will save in fuel, you may also be eligible for federal, state, and local rebates.
couple looking at finances

Financial Incentives for Electric Cars

There are a ton of benefits in getting an EV: better fuel efficiency, lower running costs, fewer maintenance costs, and special incentives.

Whether you are talking about the higher fuel economy of a plug-in hybrid car, or zero emissions vehicles such as all-electric cars, the added technology used in EVs comes at a price. Green cars generally have higher manufacturer suggested retail prices, or MSRPs, than most gasoline vehicles. This is mostly due to the high cost of the battery packs. However, because of all the environmental and societal benefits EVs have, the federal government has provided a solution to help drive adoption of EVs by providing financial incentives that lower their overall cost.

Eligible EV buyers can receive rebates, tax credits, exemptions or driving perks when they purchase or lease an EV. These incentives are offered at all levels of government (federal, state, local) and even by certain companies or agencies, such as utility companies and air quality management districts.

Explore the specific incentives you qualify for using our GreenCars EV Incentives Calculator.

person filling out paper work

Federal EV Tax Credit

One of the best-known incentives is from the federal government, which offers up to $7,500 off the MSRP of eligible vehicles. The best part about incentives is that you can save even more. For instance, if the starting MSRP of a 2023 Nissan LEAF is $28,040 and you qualify for a $2,000 incentive that was offered by your state, city, and local utility, you could be entitled to a total savings of $9,500 off of your vehicle purchase — that’s a brand-new Nissan LEAF for under $20,000!

As more and more electric cars hit the roads, the cost to produce them will continue to drop. The price of battery packs is also dropping. It is estimated that it will cost the same to buy a new electric car, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid as it will to purchase a traditional gasoline-powered car by 2024.

Family at Car Dealer filling out paper work

What is the EV Tax Credit?

There is a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 available to people who purchase a brand-new plug-in hybrid, or all-electric car. The amount of the credit you will receive depends on the make and model of vehicle and can be claimed on your taxes for the year that you purchased your EV.

Under the new provisions, up to $7,500 is available for new electric vehicles, and there is now a credit of up to $4,000 for used electric vehicles, which can make buying an EV even more affordable for some drivers. However, price caps are in place: passenger cars priced at over $55,000 and vans, trucks, and SUVs priced at over $80,000 are no longer eligible for credits.

If you are purchasing a new vehicle outright, or financing, only vehicles whose final assembly is completed in North America qualify for clean energy vehicle credits. This means that many vehicles that previously qualified for clean energy incentives are no longer eligible. Furthermore, not only do vehicles have to be assembled in North America, but they must meet new critical mineral and battery component requirements. Vehicles with battery components sourced from countries without a free trade arrangement with the U.S. may only qualify for a partial credit.

Fortunately, if you lease a new vehicle, you may qualify for the full $7,500 incentive – no matter where it’s made, or where its battery components are sourced from. Even better, dealers can now apply the tax incentiveas a discount at the time of purchase, instead of you applying later at tax time. You can look up the most current incentives on the interactive GreenCars EV Incentives Tool.

person using calculator

State and Local Incentives

Besides the federal incentive, there are many state and local incentives, rebates, and cash back offers for green cars. To find out more about your local incentives, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center at  https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/search

EV Growth

The world of electric cars is growing fast. In 2022, there was a 60 percent rise in EV registrations and there are currently over 16.5 million EVs in service worldwide. It is estimated that California alone will have over four million electric cars on the road by 2030 and 58 percent of all passenger vehicles in the world will be EVs by 2040.

A young couple admiring the forest and trees next to their RAV4 Hybrid

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