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Auto industry wants Sweden’s green vehicle rebate program refueled

Radio SwedenEye on the Arctic

A rebate program for people who buy electric and hybrid cars is running out of money and members of the auto industry want the government to top it off with more cash to help consumers choose environmentally friendly vehicles.

As it stands now, about 800 more cars can be bought before Sweden’s rebate program runs out of gas.

The government first approved the subsidy plan in September 2011, setting aside $29.3 million for people who purchase so-called “super green cars” -- vehicles that have carbon emissions below 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (0.62 mile).

That investment was supposed to cover 5,000 cars until the end of this year by giving motorists who buy electric or plug-in hybrid cars a $5,852 bonus.

But as the program’s balance nears zero, members of the auto industry want to see it continued.

“It’s like putting a wet blanket on something that works very well. Because if you’re going to order a car, it may not be delivered until a month or two later and we think that the money will run out in mid-September,” says Bertil Moldén, CEO of Bil Sweden, a trade group that represents car manufacturers and importers.

Bil Sweden wants the government to jumpstart the program with another $7.3 million.

Either way, consumers will have to wait and see if more money is set aside. Jonas Johansson, press secretary to Sweden’s Energy Minister, says the government can’t make any decision until after September’s election in conjunction with the autumn budget.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.