The government has stopped taking applications for Powershift and CleanUp grants.

Owners of ‘clean’ vehicles such as Honda’s hybrid Civic IMA or Toyota’s Prius will have to wait until June before they can apply to the Energy Savings Trust (EST).

The problem is likely to be amplified later in the year as EST has announced an arbitrary two month budget window for all grant applications. When the budget has been used up, no new grant applications will be accepted.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) fears this will confuse consumers.

Chief-exec Christopher Macgowan said: “What are car buyers to do? Will they wait until an administrative window has opened to make a grant application for one of the cleanest alternative fuelled vehicles? No, the reality is that many will simply change their buying decision.”