State ups cash offer to many electric car buyers

Posted at 5:46 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 22:35:20-04

California wants more drivers to get away from the gas pump.

On Tuesday, the state upped its cash rebate offer to low- and moderate-income earners who buy electric cars like Teslas or plug-in hybrids, which go a certain distance on a charge before using gas.

Buyers of those cars can now get up to $6,500 in cash from the state, and a $7,500 tax credit from the federal government.

Households that earn triple the federal poverty limit qualify for the rebate, so a family of four can gross as much as nearly $73,000 a year and be eligible. An individual can earn as much as $35,000 a year to qualify.

Sarah Stone, an El Cajon resident who has a Mazda 3, said it would be great to get cash back, but that there are other costs involved. Plug-in hybrids and electric cars are also more expensive than traditional vehicles.

Stone said she puts 32,000 miles on her car a year and buys $40 to $50 in gas a week. She said she's also paying for convenience and peace of mind.

"Not everywhere offers the plug-ins yet, so it would be kind of hard to find," she said. "And then you'd have to make sure you have the plug-in at your house."

Brett Griffitts of Perry Ford of Poway said the plug-ins offer the best flexibility.

"You don't have to worry about running out," he said. "It's not like driving a golf cart where you only have an electric mode."

For more information on the state's increased rebate program, visit