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California ARB approves funding plan for low-carbon, zero-emission vehicles; improves car scrap program

The California Air Resources Board took two actions to support the development and deployment of advanced vehicle technologies, provide incentives for clean-cars and improve existing vehicle retirement and replacement programs.

  • ARB approved a funding plan for FY 2014-2015 that will increase investments in cleaning up emissions from freight and goods transport, and continue investments in zero-emission vehicle technologies. New pilot projects will deploy zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses and advanced technology demonstration projects in the freight sector.

  • 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.

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.

  • $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).

  • $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.

EFPM. 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.


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