Electric Car Incentives By State: The Top 5


Are There Incentives For Electric Car Owners/Buyers?

I’m going to be honest with you: While I had a lot of reasons to finally buy an electric car, the idea of electric car incentives was particularly appealing to me. I’m lucky to live in California, which leads the nation for electric car owners. In terms of electric car incentives by state, California residents can find themselves with some exciting opportunities. At the same time, we aren’t the only state offering such incentives by any means.

Federal tax credits for electric cars seem to be dropping. While $3, 750 is still an impressive credit, new electric car owners should look beyond federal incentives for electric cars. It is unclear how much longer the federal government will support EVs with such incentives. For now, I would suggest keeping in mind the federal credit, while looking to state-specific incentives. I’m also going to cover the differences in incentives/credits between buying and leasing.

Which Electric Car Incentives Are Currently Available To Me?

As I just mentioned, federal government incentives for electric cars seems to be dropping. This could improve in the future. However, for now, the federal tax credit breaks down like so:

  • $7,500: On or before Dec. 31, 2019
  • $3,750: Jan. 1 to June 30, 2020
  • $1,875: July 1 to Dec. 31, 2020
  • $0: After Dec. 31, 2020

Furthermore, keep in mind that if you choose to lease your electric car, the tax credit will be given to the manufacturer. Many dealerships offset this by factoring your tax credit into the cost of your lease.

In terms of incentives, I would also suggest learning more about the FAST Act. This could prove to be very exciting for electric car owners.

Now, let’s talk about electric car incentives on the state level.

The Top 5 Electric Car Incentives (By State)

Current electric car incentives can vary on the state level.

For example, North Carolina electric car incentives includes an exemption on retail sales/use taxes for electric vehicles. Chances are, something is either going on in your state, or will be coming to your state in the not-too-distant future.

To that end, I want to give you a rough idea of what you can expect with a closer look at the top 5 states for rebates/incentives.

  1. California


California electric car incentives make for an impressive list indeed. Rebates include $2, 500 for buying or leasing a zero-emission electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.

These have been made available through the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. It can be helpful to learn more about qualifying, as well as income caps that can disqualify you from taking part in the rebate.

There are also county-specific rebates to learn about. For example, the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) will give you a rebate upwards of $1, 000. This can be directed towards buying or leasing a zero or partial emissions vehicle (it must be certified by the California Air Resources Board, which will always be the case for rebates and incentives).

California has so many rebates, it would be impossible to cover them all here. There are voluntary vehicle retirement incentives, HOV/HOT lane exemptions, utility/private incentives, and much more. I’ve really enjoyed California’s dedication to electric vehicles, and to an infrastructure that will encourage their continued growth, on a number of levels.

  1. Hawaii


I was surprised to learn this, while researching the article. As far as your Hawaii electric car incentives are concerned, there is a lot to be excited about. The state currently offers an HOV lane exception to qualifying electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, in addition to parking fee exemptions, and even requirements for public parking lots!

You can even use an app to help you find charging public or private charging stations anywhere in the state. Hawaii is one of the most progressive states, when it comes to EVs and similar vehicles.

  1. Washington


Slowly but surely, WA state electric car incentives are getting more and more exciting. Both alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles are exempt from state emissions tests. A number of grant programs, including the Green Transportation Grant Program, are also being implemented. There also incentives related to parking, retail sales taxes, and much more.

The sales tax incentive is particularly exciting, if you ask me. Not only does it apply to new and used vehicles, but it also extends to leased vehicles. This is a good example of states opening up to incentives for leased vehicles, as opposed to getting one through the manufacturer.

  1. Oregon


This part of the U.S. in general seems to be doing particularly well with incentives and rebates. Oregon benefits from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which applies to residents of the state, businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. The rebates start in the $1, 500 range, but some can be eligible for residents in the neighborhood of $2, 500! Residents who meet certain qualifications can receive a rebate as high as $2, 500 for buying or leasing an EV. If you opt to purchase instead, the rebate can be upwards of $5, 000.

There are also a range of private and utility electric car incentives that are quite impressive.

  1. Vermont

The home stare of 2020 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is another heavyweight in this department. There is a rebate of up to $5, 000 available to residents who purchase or lease an electric vehicle. You can learn more by visiting the Drive Electric Vermont website.

Vermont is particularly impressive where it concerns utility and private incentives. I love this kind of commitment to transforming the way we use and take advantage of these vehicles. There is no question in my mind that Vermont is one of the states leading the way for electric car incentives by state. You will want to check the Drive Electric Vermont site for more specific information.


Here are some of the questions people ask me the most about this subject:

  • My state wasn’t covered in this article. Does that mean there aren’t any incentives available to me? Not at all. Virginia, Wisconsin, and Utah are just a few of the other states offering an array of rebates and special offers.
  • Can I expect these rebates/incentives to improve? Be removed? The answer to both questions will vary by state. My suggestion is to keep a close eye on any legislation related to EV rebates and incentives.
  • If my state doesn’t currently offer anything, can I expect that to change? See my answer above. A number of states are trying to expand in this area, but there will always be opposition.

Wrapping Up: Find Your EV Incentives Today

Electric car incentives have unquestionably come a long way. Simply in those terms, I can’t help but be optimistic for what the future holds.

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