California drivers have had to spend just over a quarter more per gallon for gas as pump prices have jumped 26 cents in the last week.
With costs expected to remain high for the next few months…. (My apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson)…In the spring a young man’s (or woman’s) fancy turns to thoughts of more fuel efficient vehicles.
(photo courtesty of Chevrolet)
Fortunately, just cresting the gloaming hill are an electric car by Chevrolet and a plug-in hybrid from Toyota which will qualify for incentive pricing and access to carpool lanes.
The 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car with a California standard Low Emissions Package will qualify buyers for a $1,500 state rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) in addition to a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.
Similarly, the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in has been approved for the State of California's CVRP $1,500 rebate, a $2,500 federal tax credit and eligibility for the State of California's HOV lane sticker.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is making 40,000 Clean Air Stickers available for registered vehicles that meet the state’s emissions standards. Applications can be downloaded from the DMV’s web site at www.dmv.ca.gov 
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Don't miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered right to your inboxThe difference in the amount of the federal tax credit is based upon factors such as battery capacity determining how much owners are eligible to receive. To meet the tax incentive's standards, a Zero Emissions Vehicle (Volt) or Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (Prius Plug-in) must have a battery with a minimum capacity of 4 kilowatt-hours.
Vehicles with a battery capacity of 5 kWh or greater are eligible for an additional $417 of tax credit added for every Kilowatt-hour in excess of 4 kWh. Vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF, with a 24 kWh capacity battery, will be eligible for the maximum $7,500 credit.
The Volt features a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery.
According to Chevrolet, the Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas-and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator reportedly extends the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.
The Prius Plug-in features a new Lithium-ion battery, which boosts its overall fuel economy and offers shorter charging times of only 2.5-3 hours using a standard 120V outlet or 1.5 hours using 240V.
With its Lithium-ion power and extended electric vehicle mode, the claims the Prius Plug-in is EPA-rated for a total driving range of 540 miles.
So, as one contemplates the new alternate fuel vehicles, there is another Tennyson quote that comes to mind, “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”
Consumers should know that rebates and incentives are on a first come, first serve basis. To see how much money is available, click here .
Clean vehicle rebate applications can be submitted online by clicking here .