California’s Clean Fuel Rebate for Electric Vehicles—What a Deal

By Paul Gipe

It’s a deal almost too good to be true: Get paid to drive an electric car.

Well it’s not quite that good, but receiving a $500 payment is a surprising benefit to driving an Electric Vehicle (EV) in the service area of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

Note: The utility rebate for driving electric in the service area of PG&E and Southern California Edison is now $800.

This is all due to California’s Clean Fuel Rebate, the result of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). In short, the payment—or what the state calls a rebate—is for the value of the pollution we’ve offset by not burning gasoline.

For us, it pays to drive electric. We are an all EV household. With two vehicles (a Nissan Leaf and a Chevy Volt) we expect to receive $1,000 in total from the utility.

True, we haven’t received the checks yet, but we did apply for both vehicles. The application process was simple and seemingly foolproof. We had to scan our vehicle registration cards and upload them as part of the application but it was otherwise seamless.

It appears that this program is limited to PG&E. Why this is so is unknown.

Nevertheless, the announcement of the program was a nice bonus after driving the Leaf for two years and for purchasing the Chevy Volt in November of 2016.