The State of Israel is doing its bit to promote “green living” by offering tax breaks to those who buy clean energy cars.
The government on Sunday authorized special benefits to consumers who purchase electric cars, dropping the sales tax to 8 percent from its previous 10 percent. In addition, Cabinet ministers approved a proposal not to raise the sales tax on hybrid vehicles this year. The total package comes at a cost to the government of some NIS 130 million, and goes into effect on June 1.
"Hybrid” vehicles, which use at least two or more power sources to fuel the engine, have become more popular in Israel in recent years.
Models presently sold in the Jewish State include the Honda Civic Hybrid and Insight models, and the Toyota Prius, all considered extremely fuel efficient.
In addition, the Israeli Better Place company has developed and now produces electric vehicles, as well as the network of charging stations that are cropping up nationwide. The company is continuing to plant sales offices and charging stations at major companies such as Teva and Pelephone, as well as in newly-built shopping malls, including one now under construction in the northeastern Negev desert city of Arad.
Other “green cars” that have been developed to run on alternative energy use hydrogen and bio-fuels such as algae. The Seambiotic firm, founded in 2003, grows and processes marine micro algae for biofuel, among other efforts.
According to a statement on the company's website, Seambiotic created the first gallons of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol from marine microalgae cultivated using smokestack flue gas. Through its technology and the use of the Israel Electric Company resources the firm has produced high quality algae, at a very low cost with a high percentage of oil and carbohydrates that is efficient for the production of bioenergy.