Drivers will now be able to get up to $2,500 in state incentives to help purchase alternative-fuel vehicles, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced this week.
Officials with TCEQ said its the first time the agency has offered an alternative fuel vehicle incentive program specifically geared towards light-duty vehicles. The incentive program was part of state legislation that was approved by the state legislature a year ago.
Joe Walton, manager of the implementation grants section at TCEQ, said previous efforts to launch the program had sputtered as theyve failed to get funding.
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. Until now, the agencys incentives have applied to heavy- and medium- duty vehicles that were geared toward fleet applications.
But now, buyers of consumer-grade vehicles like the electric Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, or CNG versions of the Honda Civic or Ford F-150, are eligible.
The changes were part of the states Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, which offers financial incentives for lower-emissions vehicles as part of en effort to improve air quality in the state. TCEQ had been sorting out the rules of what type of vehicles would be eligible for the program since last year.
The program runs through June 2015 but will conclude if it runs out of money earlier.
The program would only partially offset the cost of the alternative fuel vehicles, which generally cost significantly more than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Converting an F-150 to run on CNG, for example, can cost $7,500 to $9,500, and the Chevrolet Volt costs about $34,185, more than many luxury sedans.
But Walton emphasised that TCEQs incentives can be combined with other grant programs offered by the state as well as the federal government. The federal government offers tax credits of $2,500 to $7,500 for some electric vehicles, for example.
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