Delaware is renewing a program offering incentives for people who buy electric cars.
Since its launch in 2015, the Clean Transportation Program has given away more than $4.5 million in rebates to more than 1,500 Delaware drivers who bought alternative fuel vehicles and more than 400 businesses that purchased charging stations.
The program was set to end at the end of the year and has now been renewed through 2020.
“[We’ve] been able to invest what I like to call catalyst funding,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Sean Garvin. “It just gives maybe that little extra incentive for someone to say, instead of buying a traditional fossil fuel vehicle, maybe an electric or hybrid plug really makes more sense.”
The program is funded through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)—a partnership between northeast states to sell the rights for companies to emit carbon at auction and then invest the proceeds into energy efficiency projects. More than $125 million from that initiative has come to Delaware.
The state has been working with car dealerships to offer $2,500 rebates to drivers who buy battery-electric and $1,000 for plug -in hybrid.
“So it has had an impact,” said Dayna Cobb, DNREC’s Division of Climate Coastal and Energy Director, “Now, mind you, electric vehicle is only 1.5 percent of the market in Delaware; 2 percent nationally. So we have a lot of work to do, but we’re really trying to push it.”
According to DNREC, transportation is the largest source of emissions in the state, accounting for 35% in 2016.
Delaware plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 28 percent from its 2005 baseline by 2025.