For Immediate Release - March 23, 2009

Patrick Administration Announces Federal Recovery Funds to Assist the Purchase of Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Competitive grants will pay the price differential between conventional and "green" vehicles for qualified municipalities and businesses that order electric, hybrid, and other clean energy vehicles

BOSTON - As part of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) today announced federal economic recovery funds may be available for Bay State companies and municipalities to buy energy-efficient hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles at about the same cost as lower-priced conventional vehicles.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds to cover the cost differential between hybrid and alternative fuel cars and trucks and their petroleum-fueled counterparts. DOER must apply for this federal recovery funding on behalf of Massachusetts companies (such as trucking and taxi companies) and public entities (such as municipalities and water districts) by May 29. To qualify, businesses and public agencies must submit to DOER by May 18 a letter of commitment to purchase eligible vehicles. State agencies may also qualify for the "Clean Cities" grants.

Massachusetts could receive $5 million to $15 million under the program, with funds expected to be disbursed to qualified private and public applicants for vehicle purchases this summer. Nationwide, ARRA is providing $300 million in competitive grants to encourage the purchase of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles - a goal that benefits the environment through lower vehicle emissions while supporting development of clean energy technologies, businesses, and jobs.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to buy alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles for the same cost as buying standard light, medium, or heavy-duty cars and trucks," said DOER Commissioner Philip Giudice. "It's a win-win situation for Massachusetts businesses and the environment. But we have to act fast, and the more firm purchase commitments we have, the better our chances are."

Among vehicles eligible for the program are hybrids and super-efficient plug-in hybrids, cars and trucks powered by fuel cells, compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane vehicles, light duty diesel vehicles with 2009 model year or later compliant emissions, and vehicles powered by biodiesel and ethanol. Heavy-duty hybrid bucket trucks for utilities, CNG airport buses, hybrid cars for taxi fleets, and hybrid cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles for use by municipalities are examples of vehicles that could be purchased in the next several months with the help of "Clean Cities" funding.

The ARRA funds provide a unique opportunity for businesses and communities that might not otherwise be able to afford hybrid and other "green" vehicles, which typically cost more than conventional vehicles to buy but yield significant long-term fuel savings and environmental benefits. A community that buys a hybrid dump truck, for example, could recoup the approximately $40,000 more that vehicle costs compared with a similar conventional engine truck, and then save 50 percent on fuel costs over the life of the truck. The grants will cover the incremental purchase costs for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles ranging from a maximum of approximately $2,000 for hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars to a maximum of $50,000 for heavy duty trucks powered by CNG or hydrogen.

Grant recipients will be responsible for buying the vehicles within a pre-determined time limit, registering them in Massachusetts, providing insurance and having vehicles inspected. Recipients must also keep their vehicles for at least 36 months.

Program and application details are available on the DOER website ( www.mass.gov/doer).

Investments in the Commonwealth's clean energy future are a critical component of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

  • Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;

  • Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and

Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.