California state legislators will vote on a bill (AB 493) that establishes a sliding feebate program (surcharges and incentives) based on the greenhouse gas emissions of new light- and medium-duty vehicles. The program would be administered by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), would take effect 1 July 2010 and would apply to motor vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year.
The Clean Vehicle Incentive Program is designed to be self-financing: the surcharges for higher-emitting vehicles would fund the rebates for the more-efficient vehicles. The bill was sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which says that it is seeking to establish a program that reduces vehicle emissions while protecting consumer choice.
The bill, authored by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin (D-Redwood City), requires ARB to develop regulations to implement the program. ARB will have to calculate, using a linear scale, the rebate or surcharge based on the vehicle’s emissions of greenhouse gases, compared to the emissions of all vehicles of the same model year that are subject to the Program.
The program will have a zero-band that reflects 20-25% of a fleet of a given model that will neither receive a rebate nor a surcharge. The zero-band is to be adjusted to ensure that buyers have a variety of vehicles among various types, including light trucks, that are not assessed a surcharge. ARB will consider sales-weighted data in determining the placement of the zero-band.
The maximum amount of the rebates and surcharges is not to be less than $2,250 or more than $2,500. The minimum amount is $100. Any vehicle with an estimated surcharge or rebate of less than $100 is to be placed in the zero-band.
ARB will need to make annual adjustments to the applied rebates and surcharges to ensure that the surcharges are sufficient to cover the cost of implementing the program, including administrative costs incurred by any state agency.
The bill directs ARB to determine how to account for alternative fueled vehicles in the surcharge and rebate calculations, and authorizes ARB to develop procedures for surcharge refunds if an approved alternative fuel conversion device is installed on the vehicle within six months of purchase.
The bill also requires ARB to consider upstream greenhouse gas emissions that occur during the production of the fuels.
Certain categories of vehicles (such as emergency vehicles and vanpooling vans) and diesel-powered vehicles are exempted from the legislation, as are very-low-income buyers and very small businesses.
The California Motor Car Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are in opposition.
...there is no recognition that a large vehicle may be driven very few miles while a smaller vehicle may be driven very many miles. There is no effort to correlate actual emissions with the surcharge or rebates.—Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers