Oregon has some of the best incentives for buying an electric vehicle in the country. Buyers are able to receive up to $7,500 back from the state if they qualify for two separate rebates. Unfortunately, this generous rebate program is running out of money, so the state has decided to pause it beginning May 1.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) offers the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which consists of two possible rebates. The standard rebate is available to all Oregonians who purchase an EV under $50,000 and is worth $2,500. Middle- and low-income earners, though, are also eligible for the "charge ahead" rebate worth another $5,000. Combined, both rebates match the federal government's current tax credit program that also offers a $7,500 incentive for eligible EV buyers. Combined, buyers can get up to $15,000 off the eligible EV of their choice.
Oregon's double rebate, though, has become a victim of its own success. Oregon Live reports the state has dispersed more than $71 million over five years through the program, and it's almost out of cash. The program is funded by receiving 45 percent of Oregon's vehicle privilege tax, which is levied on every new car sold in the state, or $12 million annually, whichever is higher. It also received a one-time infusion of $15 million in 2022. According to its own data, though, the program distributed most of that money and only carried over $3.5 million into 2023.
Efforts are already underway to increase funding for next year. The DEQ estimates it will receive $14 million from the vehicle privilege tax, and Forth, a nonprofit in the state, is working with state legislators to secure another $30 million injection for 2024-2025.
If you live in Oregon, are thinking about buying an EV, and haven't taken advantage of these healthy incentives, we recommend doing so now before May 1. Buyers who make their transaction before the deadline will have up to six months afterwards to apply for their rebates. There are utility companies in Oregon that also offer rebates, which could boost your savings even higher. Now's the time, before it's too late.