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USA: Local rebate promotes electric cars

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is encouraging the use of electric cars by offering Valley residents a $3,000 rebate.

Combined with other rebates and fuel savings over time, this narrows the price difference between gasoline and electric power cars.

Bill Roven’s all-electric Tesla Roadster may be the fastest car for miles around, except when it’s time for a pit stop.

It gets about 200 miles on a charge that takes 3 or 4 hours.

He says he spends $20 a month to charge it.

Like high-end gas-power sports cars, the Tesla is expensive, has no back seat and little trunk space. But instead of a heavy engine, a heavy block of batteries. Roven says there are seven thousand of them and they weigh 900 pounds.

The Tesla was the first mass-produced electric car sold in the United States and originally cost as much as a house. Now most auto makers have electric models and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District will give you $3,000 to buy one.

Electric cars move the source of air pollution from a car’s tail pipe to the power plant. But even there they account for far less air pollution than their gasoline-driven counterparts; no emissions are produced when sources like wind, solar or water are used.

The District’s $3,000 rebate gets added to a $2,500 state rebate and a $7,500 federal tax credit. In all, electric car shoppers in the Valley can knock $13,000 off the price tag. The district’s rebate significantly narrows the gap between the costs of electric and conventional vehicles.

For comparison, consider a new gas-power Toyota Corolla MSRP $17,720.
After subtracting $13,000 from the price of a $29,975 electric Mitsubishi-iMiEV, it costs less than the Corolla at $16,975.

More savings add up over time.

Driving an average of 40 miles a day at today’s gas prices ($3.95 /gal) costs $150 a month in the Corolla. A month of the same driving in an electric car costs about $50.

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