House passes bill to put hybrid, electric vehicle rebates into Delaware code


The House passed legislation Tuesday that would put an existing rebate program for electric vehicles into the Delaware code.

Sponsored by Rep. Sophie Phillips, House Bill 12  make permanent the Clean Vehicle Rebate program the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has offered since 2014 to add incentives to the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The bill passed on a party-line vote. Republicans have doubled down on opposition to legislation related to electric vehicles, especially the California rule that would mandate that 80% of new vehicles sold in 2035 would be battery-electrics.

The Secretary of the Delaware of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will make the decision on the mandate. Legislators and other critics say they are not opposed to electric vehicles but believe the marketplace should govern their adoption.

Funding for the Delaware program comes from the regional Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a long-time target of critics of the state’s energy policies.


“Electric vehicles have grown in popularity and reliability in recent years, and we should be taking steps to encourage consumers who are on the fence to invest in one,” said Phillips, D-Bear/Christiana. “Ensuring that we continue to offer a modest rebate for EVs will make them more affordable to middle-class families who want a cleaner environment and don’t want to fill their gas tank up at $3.50 a gallon. I’m grateful to my colleagues for advancing this bill.”

The state rebate is separate from a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500 for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles and may be taxable.

Under HB 12, the program would offer up to a $2,500 rebate for electric vehicles and a maximum of $1,000 for hybrid vehicles for vehicles that retail for up to $50,000. DNREC would be required to develop standards, forms, and procedures necessary to implement this program. This program, combined with a tax credit offered under the federal Inflation Reduction Act, would bring the overall cost of EVs down, encouraging residents to make a more environmentally friendly decision.

“As the market for automobiles continues to shift away from gas-powered cars and toward electric vehicles, we have an opportunity to provide a financial incentive to a growing number of Delawareans who wish to purchase an EV,” said Sen. Sarah McBride, Senate prime sponsor of HB 12. “Codifying our state’s existing Clean Vehicle Rebate Program will continue our commitment toward a more energy-efficient future by helping consumers make the transition to electric.”

HB 12 is part of a series of measures filed this spring designed to drive Delaware toward a more sustainable future by reducing the state’s carbon footprint, cutting emissions, offering incentives to residents, and ensuring businesses are prepared to utilize renewable energy.

Earlier this month, the House passed a measure aimed at reducing net emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. House Bill 99 lays out those targets from the 2005 baseline and would put into the Delaware code a planning process to meet those goals and require the state to draft and implement a climate action plan that would serve as a framework to guide state agencies to meet these goals.

The House also passed House Bill 11 last week, which would require new commercial buildings with a foundation footprint of 50,000 square feet or greater to meet standards ensuring that their roof can support solar infrastructure.