PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Electric vehicles have become more popular among Oregonians trying to save their gas money and carbon footprint, but that popularity may come at a higher cost when Oregon’s electric vehicle rebate ends in May 2023.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced Wednesday that it will temporarily suspend the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program on May 1 due to a lack of funding.

Each year, the program receives funds from the state’s Vehicle Privilege Tax. In 2023, these funds totaled at a budget of $17.5 million – leaving $15.5 million available for rebates after other program costs are factored in.

Rules state that the rebates must be suspended once the program’s funds are depleted, which the DEQ estimates will run out sometime late spring.

As of March 10, the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program had less than $7 million in funding available.

According to the Oregon Department of Energy, Oregonians purchased more than 60,600 zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) as of November 2022. Multnomah County held the highest total of ZEVs at about 16,900 vehicles.

ZEVs include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and zero-emission motorcycles.

Those planning to buy or lease a ZEV before May 1 can still apply for a rebate and may be placed on a waiting list if funds run out too quickly. ZEVs purchased or leased after April 30 will no longer receive a state rebate, but may qualify for federal tax credits.

Oregon DEQ Director Leah Feldon said Oregon has one of the most generous electric vehicle rebate programs in the country.

“Other states look to the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program as a model,” Feldon said. “That’s because we understand transitioning to electric vehicles is an important part of the state’s overall climate plan to reduce emissions, promote cleaner air and improve public health.”

Applicants wondering how much funding could be available before May 1 can check the Available Rebate Funding page on the DEQ’s website.

Other questions can be sent to cleancars@deq.oregon.gov.