Texas Brings Back Rebates for Electric Cars

Plug-in hybrids, fuel-cells, and natural gas qualify as well.

Jim Frenak-FPI Studios/General Motors

After a three-year hiatus, Texas will once again offer rebates for the purchase of electric cars. The Lone Star State will also offer rebates for plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel-cell cars, and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas or liquified petroleum gas. Despite its reputation as a bastion of big trucks, Texas has been fairly supportive of electric cars in the past.

Under the new incentive scheme, electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will get a $2,500 purchase rebate, according to Dallas News. Vehicles running on compressed natural gas or liquified petroleum gas will get a $5,000 rebate. Rebates can be applied to purchases or leases, and are prorated over three years for the latter. However, it's unclear how many Texas car buyers will actually be able to benefit from the rebate program.

The program doesn't cover fleet vehicles, cutting out the main source of compressed natural gas and liquified petroleum gas vehicle purchases. Relatively few private buyers choose those fuels because of the lack of supporting infrastructure. In addition, none of the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles currently sold in the United States are available in Texas.

This is also a limited-time offer. It applies to vehicles purchased or leased starting Sept. 1, and only lasts until May 31, 2019, or when funding runs out. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which manages the program, will award a maximum 1,000 natural gas-petroleum gas rebates, and 2,000 rebates covering electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

Texas previously offered 2,500 rebates for both electric and natural gas cars in 2015. That program included slots for 2,000 of each type, and lasted for about a year. The state distributed 1,896 of the electric-car rebates, according to Dallas News, but just 10 percent of the natural-gas rebates, demonstrating the lack of demand for those vehicles outside of fleets.

Texas also has a relatively large number of charging stations, largely because the state was among the first to authorize utilities to build and operate them for profit. The state currently has 997 public electric-car charging stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center.