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Texas Outpaces California in Promoting Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

In the state of Big Oil, all types of electric cars, propane, and natural gas fueled vehicles qualify for a $2,500 cash incentive, thanks to a bill passed last year that broadens the current alternative-fueled truck program to light duty vehicles.
May 17, 2014, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Ryan Holeywell of the Houston Chroniclepreviously the transportation and infrastructure reporter for Governing magazine, writes that thanks to Gov. Rick Perry signing SB 1727 last June, "(d)rivers will now be able to get up to $2,500 in state incentives to help purchase alternative-fuel vehicles" in a program managed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The new program will provide up to $7.7 million in incentives to help defray the cost of leasing or buying light-duty vehicles powered by electricity, compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, also known as propane.

The incentive program is far more generous than California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project where only "all electric" vehicles, like Nissan Leafs, get the full $2,500 rebate and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), like the Chevy Volt, receive $1,500. CNG and propane-fueled vehicles receive no rebate, though the former qualifies for a carpool lane sticker.

The Texas program also allows for a partial incentive for lease-holders of one to three years, with four years qualifying for the full $2,500, according to the TCEQ press release. In California, the minimum eligible lease is for three years.

"The changes were part of the state’s Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, which offers financial incentives for lower-emissions vehicles as part of en effort to improve air quality in the state," adds Holeywell, unlike California's program which is aimed to promote zero emission vehicles in order to reach its ambitious AB 32 global warming targets in addition to air quality goals.

A list [PDF] is available of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that qualify for the incentive. Teslas are not on the list, though not for reasons being considered in California pertaining to price.

"Only vehicles sold through a franchised dealer in Texas, or leased from a leasing company licensed to do business in Texas, may be eligible," according to the TCEQ webpageTesla has encountered major difficulties in the manner in which it markets its vehicles in some states, including Texas. State Impact's Terrence Henry explains.

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Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Fuel Fix
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