Buying an electric vehicle in Texas? Here’s what to know


Although fall seems a long way off amid the scorching summer days in North Texas, peak car-buying season is just a few months away. As consumers peruse new- and used- car lots — either out of necessity or indulgence — they’ll notice that electric vehicles have become more ubiquitous.

Once attainable only by the well-off, a range of new models have democratized the EV, making it a more realistic choice for many consumers (who might be giving the $3-per-gallon price at the pump the side eye).

EV owners can save money on some maintenance costs over the life of the car — and, depending on local gas and electricity prices, on fuel. But electric cars still require some up-front investment, from the cost of the vehicle to the installation of a home charger, to Texas’ added registration fees. An EV costs on average about $12,000 more than a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

If you’re thinking about making the tradeoff, though, here’s what you should know:

Cost savings are not a guarantee

Whether consumers save money by owning electric vehicles over conventional ones depends on several factors. In terms of maintaining your vehicle, you won’t have to worry about things like oil changes, and the lack of complex transmissions and other elements of an internal combustion engine should cut repair costs considerably and bolster reliability. But that doesn’t necessarily mean EVs require less maintenance.

“If you th ink about sort of the amount you need to change your tires or other types of maintenance you might do on the vehicle, electric vehicles might require more maintenance in the sense that they’re heavier vehicles in general and they tend to wear through tires a little quicker,” said Erich Muehlegger, a professor of economics at the University of California-Davis who has researched EV demand . “Regarding maintenance, it’s still a little bit unclear whether there’s substantial savings to be had there.”

In terms of whether you’ll save on fuel, that depends largely on electricity rates and gas prices near you, which are always in flux. Whether you can charge at home most of the time will also impact what you pay, since public chargers tend to be more expensive, Muehlegger said.

The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center calculator can help you break down the costs in your area.

You could qualify for a federal ‘clean vehicle’ tax break — maybe

Buying a new or used electric vehicle could qualify you for thousands of dollars in tax breaks — so long as you and your vehicle meet qualifying criteria.

New personal EVs can qualify for up to $7,500 in tax credits, while used cars, trucks and SUVs can qualify buyers for as much as a $4,000 credit. But thanks to stringent Treasury Department rules, only a fraction of the more than 60 EVs on the market in the U.S. qualify.

New EV owners can get up to $3,750 if their vehicle meets critical mineral requirements and an additional $3,750 if it meets battery component requirements, including a battery capacity of at least 7 kilowatt hours.

Only electric vehicles that underwent final assembly in North America and were made by a qualified manufacturer are eligible. The purchase price of a new vehicle cannot exceed $80,000 for vans, SUVs and trucks or $55,000 for all other vehicles. Used EVs must have a sale price of $25,000 or less and be at least two years old.

Those restrictions could prompt manufacturers to consider lowering prices if it makes sense to draw in more customers who want the credit, Muehlegger said, but it all depends on what makes the most financial sense for automakers.

Buyers have to meet certain income restrictions, too. To qualify for a new vehicle, married couples’ modified adjusted gross income cannot exceed $300,000. That limit drops to $225,000 for heads of household and $150,000 for all other filers. For a used EV, a married couple’s income is capped at $150,000, with head-of-household income required to be at or below $112,500 and income for all other filers to be $75,000.

Buyers can use the modified adjusted gross income for the year of the purchase or the previous year, so long as one is below the income threshold.

Buyers can put the credit toward the purchase price by transferring it to their dealer, or wait and claim the credit when they file their tax returns. See if your vehicle is eligible for a credit here.

You can get a federal tax break on your charger, too depending on where you live

If you live in a low-income census tract you can qualify for a federal tax credit when you install a charger at your primary residence.

Consumers can get a tax credit of 30% of the cost of installation, up to a maximum of $1,000 per item. This online map can tell you if you live in a qualifying community.

To claim the credit, taxpayers should use Form 8911 when they file their annual tax return.

State discounts in Texas are sparse — for now

Between 12 and 15 states nationwide offer additional state-level incentives to purchase an electric vehicle, Muehlegger said. There aren’t any active state-level grants or incentives that Texans can apply for right now. The Light-Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Incentive Program from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is currently closed but is expected to open again for the 2026 fiscal year, though a date hasn’t been set, the agency confirmed in June.

Other state-level incentives for fleets, heavy-duty equipment and natural gas conversions are active. Find more information on the commission’s grants webpage.

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