U.S. State of Illinois Suspends Alternative Fuel Rebate Program With Immediate Effect

Depending on where you live in the U.S., a varying amount of financial incentives are available to assist with the purchase cost of a brand-new plug-in or alternative-fuelled vehicle. In some states, there’s a generous local state rebate or tax credit available on top of the nationwide $7,500 federal income tax credit for plug-in vehicles, further reducing the effective price of a plug-in hybrid or electric car.

Thanks to local ties with manufacturing, Illinois has been home to some of the best Mitsubishi i-Miev sales in the U.S.

Thanks to local ties with manufacturing, Illinois has been home to some of the best Mitsubishi i-Miev sales in the U.S.

Since 1998, the midwestern state of Illinois has been one such state to offer local incentives to residents making the switch to a greener vehicle, offering consumers up to $4,000 each for switching to an alternative fuelled vehicle.

Under the program, a rebate of up to 80 percent of the incremental cost of the alternative-fuelled vehicle versus its conventional gasoline-powered counterpart was available, up to a total of $4,000.

But last week, the state’s environmental protection agency suddenly called a halt to to the program, meaning anyone who purchased an alternative-fuelled vehicle after the start of 2014 will not get a rebate at the current time.

As ChargedEVs reports, the Illinois EPA halted the program last week, with representatives from the state body confirming that there are no current plans to reinstate the rebate in the future, or even replace it with a similar program.

While Illinois' EPA has suspended its alternative fuel rebate program, incentives are still available for charging stations.

While Illinois’ EPA has suspended its alternative fuel rebate program, incentives are still available for charging stations.

Interestingly, while the Illinois EPA’s Alternative Fuel Rebate Program has been suspended, other programs like the Illinois Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Rebate Program — which offers up to 50 percent of the installation cost of a domestic electric vehicle charging station up to a total cost of $3,000 — remain in force. This leads us to suspect that the suspension of the Alternative Fuel Rebate Program may be one linked to a funding matter rather than a change in policy. 

At the time of writing, we have not been able to confirm or deny this theory with anyone at the Illinois EPA, although we have reached out to the Illinois EPA for comment and will post any official responses as we have them.

For the record, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen rebate and/or incentive programs suspended by local and national governments.

Last year, California’s high-occupancy vehicle lane sticker program was temporarily suspended for all plug-in hybrid and range-extended EV applicants due to the program running out of allocated stickers, only to be reinstated after an emergency extension bill was passed by the legislature.

Just earlier this week, the Canadian province of British Columbia announced the return of its Clean Energy Vehicle incentive program — a series of incentives designed to encourage the adoption of plug-in vehicles — which had been allowed to expire last spring after using up all of its allocated C$14.6 million of original funding.

It's unclear at this time if the rebates will return.

It’s unclear at this time if the rebates will return.

It’s also worth noting that while the Illinois EPA has suspended its Alternative Fuel Rebate Program for the foreseeable future, there’s a continued push in the Illinois General Assembly to push for cleaner, greener, energy use and expansion of plug-in vehicle recharging provision.

On Thursday last week, the Illinois General Assembly introduced bipartisan-supported legislation which would allow local utility company ComEd to invest $400 million in community solar projects, along with grid-edge assets like microgrid provision and public plug-in vehicle charging infrastructure.

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