I joined Larry Mantle on his KPCC radio talk show in Southern California this morning for a discussion of State Senator Kevin De Leon’s bill to limit California’s electric vehicle rebate program (up to $2500 off purchases) to low and moderate income customers. The LA Times covers some of the debate here. SB 1275 would direct the California Air Resources Board to figure out the best way to spend limited rebate funds by limiting access to high-income earners.
My take? California’s overriding goal should be to maximize electric vehicle adoption rates, and if targeting limited public funds on low-income communities is the way to do it, then please proceed. It makes sense in some ways: over half of Tesla owners did not cite the rebates as a motivating factor in their purchases. So why not redirect some of that rebate money to lower-income people where it would make a difference?
A number of listeners on the show today disagreed, and some even took offense that “successful” people were being “punished” by this bill. Personally, I think the state has a strong interest in maximizing the value of limited public funds, and if that means supporting low-income people and helping to expand the market in those communities, let the state go with it. I’m sure many of those listeners would also be upset about their tax dollars not being spent in the most efficient manner, either.
The link to the interview is here.