New Tesla registrations down almost 50% in California — but that doesn't mean bad news

The drop in registrations comes after customers stopped receiving a $7,500 US tax credit

New Tesla vehicle registrations nearly halved in California in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to data from a Dominion Cross-Sell report published Wednesday.

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The drop in registrations comes after customers stopped receiving a $7,500 U.S. tax credit to electric-vehicle (EV) buyers 2019, which was established in an effort to sell more environmentally conscious cars to U.S. residents.

The credit will phase out over the course of 18 months for automakers after they sell 200,000 EV sales, which Tesla reached in 2018, The credit fell to just under $2,000, Reuters reported.

Once the credit was no longer available to buyers, new Tesla car registrations in California fell by 46 percent from 25,402 in December 2018 to 13,584 in December 2019. Registrations for Tesla's Model 3 EV halved to 10,694, according to the report that compiled data from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

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It should be noted, however, that California reports registrations roughly two to four weeks after deliveries. Therefore,  while the registration numbers may look low, that is the result of a late delivery process. In January, the numbers will likely jump, CNET reported.

Tesla did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request to comment on its registration expectations for 2020.

New or higher registration fees for EV owners went go into effect in at least eight states last month in an effort to make up for lost revenue by forgone gas taxes.

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More and more U.S. states will be imposing special fees on gas-free cars, SUVs and trucks — a significant milestone as the trend toward green technology intersects with the mounting need to pay for upgrades and repairs to the nation's infrastructure.

The 2019 Model 3. (James Lipman/Tesla Motors via AP)

"It’s kind of a blanket penalty for anyone who chooses to go electric," Neda Deylami, a Tesla owner who founded EV advocacy group Chicago for EVs, told the Associated Press in December.

Though electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles comprised less than 2 percent of new vehicle sales in 2018, their market share is projected to rise substantially in the coming decade. State officials hope the new fees will make up for at least part of the lost gas tax revenue that is essential to their road and bridge programs.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.