What Are the Car Rebate Laws in California?

Understanding Car Rebates in California

Car rebates are incentives provided by car manufacturers to encourage customers to purchase their vehicles. In California, car rebate laws are governed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which sets the rules for how rebates should be administered and advertised.

However, it’s important to note that not all car dealerships or manufacturers offer rebates, and those that do may have varying terms and conditions. Therefore, it’s important to read the fine print before committing to a particular offer.

In California, car manufacturers are required by law to disclose any and all rebates or incentives associated with a particular vehicle in writing. This means that any promotional materials or advertisements must clearly state the terms of the rebate, such as the amount, any applicable qualifications, and expiration dates.

California Car Rebate Laws

California law also mandates that all advertised rebates and incentives must be available to all customers. This means that car dealerships cannot reserve certain rebates or incentives for specific customers or groups. Dealerships also cannot add additional fees or requirements that would exclude certain customers from qualifying for a rebate or incentive.

In addition, California law requires car manufacturers to submit their rebate offers to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for approval. This is because many rebates are tied to environmentally friendly vehicles, such as electric or hybrid cars, in an effort to incentivize the purchase of more eco-friendly options.

Finally, it’s important to note that rebates are considered taxable income by the federal government. Therefore, customers who receive a rebate may be required to pay taxes on the amount they receive.

Common car rebate programs in California

There are several common car rebate programs available in California. One of the most popular is the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), which provides rebates for the purchase or lease of new, eligible zero-emission vehicles. These rebates can range from $1,500 to $7,000, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

Another popular program is the California Electric Vehicle (EV) Rebate, which provides up to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of new, eligible electric vehicles. This program is run by the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and is meant to incentivize the purchase of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Additionally, many car manufacturers offer their own rebate or incentive programs, which can vary based on the make and model of the vehicle. These programs may include cash rebates, low or zero-interest financing, or special lease terms.


In summary, car rebate laws in California are designed to protect consumers from deceptive advertising and ensure that all customers have access to any and all rebate offers. While there are several common rebate programs available, it’s important to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of each offer before committing to a particular vehicle purchase. By doing so, customers can take advantage of the many incentives available and feel confident in their car-buying decision.

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