Green-car subsidy may run out early

Kyodo

A government program to subsidize purchases of environmentally friendly cars is expected to end as early as this summer, months ahead of schedule, as the earmarked funds get used up, according to an industry body.

Applications received between the start of the current program April 2 and last Friday have sought around ¥143.1 billion — 52 percent of the ¥274.7 billion set aside. The applications cover 1.51 million vehicles.

Car buyers applied for some ¥50 million in May alone, the Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center said. At that pace, the funds could get used up in August or September. If car sales increase as usual in the summer bonus season and last-minute subsidy applications come in, the pool could dry up by the end of July.

The subsidy — ¥70,000 for minivehicles with engine displacement of 660cc or less and ¥100,000 for others — is being provided for new vehicles that meet government fuel-efficiency standards and are registered between last Dec. 20 and next Jan. 31. As soon as subsidies requested by buyers reach the limit, no more applications will be accepted.