The California Air Resources Board have taken two separate actions that combined will continue to support the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies, provide incentives for clean-cars and improve existing vehicle retirement and replacement programs. The two separate actions will improve air quality and fight climate change while providing significant benefits to both low-income consumers and Californians who live in communities that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution.
"Action taken by the Board today will provide $100 million to directly benefit disadvantaged communities," Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. "The funding plan and ARB's amended 'car scrap' program together provide emission reductions for all Californians and financial incentives for those who need it the most."
The funding plan includes increased investments in cleaning up emissions from freight and goods transport, and continued investments in zero-emission vehicle technologies. New pilot projects deploy zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses and advanced technology demonstration projects in the freight sector.
The Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) supports the development and commercialization of advanced technologies that are necessary to meet California's long-term air quality and climate goals. The funding plan for fiscal year 2014-15 totals $222 million, including $200 million from the State's share of auction proceeds under ARB's cap-and-trade program for low-carbon transportation projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Legislation signed into law in 2012 by Governor Jerry Brown requires a portion of proceeds from ARB's cap-and-trade program to be invested in disadvantaged communities.
Highlights of the plan include:
- $116 million to support the highly successful Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), which offers rebates directly to consumers who purchase zero-emission and near-zero-emission passenger cars.
- Fuel-cell electric vehicles, which run on hydrogen, are now eligible for $5,000 per vehicle.
- $9 million for pilot programs, such as car sharing, to help consumers in disadvantaged communities access new clean-vehicle technologies, and to provide emissions benefits where they are most needed.
Low Carbon Trucks and Buses
- $85 million with a focus on freight for advanced technology heavy-duty vehicle and equipment deployments and demonstrations in disadvantaged communities.
- $10 million to $15 million in incentives for the purchase of heavy-duty hybrid and electric vehicles, such as delivery trucks.
- $20 million to $25 million for large-scale pilot projects to provide robust demonstrations of zero-emission technologies in the freight and transit sectors.
- $50 million for advanced technology freight demonstration projects, including zero-emission drayage trucks (that service ports).
Truck Loan Assistance Program
- $10 million for continued funding of the Truck Loan Assistance Program, which helps smaller truck fleets that have difficulty obtaining loans to upgrade their trucks. It provides enhanced credit assurance so small fleets can access loans for trucks with clean-diesel technologies.
Separately, the Board adopted amendments to improve its Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP), or 'car scrap,' program. The EFMP's successful retirement-only component incentivizes California motorists to voluntarily retire older, higher polluting vehicles and light- and medium-duty trucks.
Changes to the retirement-only portion of the program include:
- Limiting the program to low-income residents, meeting the directive of SB 459 that EFMP focus on low-income participants.
- Each vehicle to be scrapped must complete a Smog Check test to demonstrate (pass or fail) that it is road worthy and therefore retiring it will provide real air quality benefits.
A new air district administered retire-and-replace pilot program, offered in the South Coast and San Joaquin air basins, is set to launch later this year.
- The program allows air districts the flexibility to address regional needs by piloting various approaches to the program.
- Incentives will be offered on a sliding scale from as high as $4,500 toward the purchase of a used hybrid vehicle or other vehicle that gets at least 35 miles per gallon or other new or used plug-in hybrid. Plus, enhanced incentives, approved as part of the annual AQIP funding plan could provide additional financial assistance for the purchase of a replacement vehicle.
Source: The California Air Resources Board
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