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New California program to make clean cars affordable for lower-income residents

The California Air Resources Board announced a new statewide grant and loan program to help lower-income consumers across California get into the cleanest new and used cars on the market.

The Clean Vehicle Assistance Program, run by the Oakland-based nonprofit Beneficial State Foundation, was launched with a $5-million CARB grant. The funding is from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.

The program has been up and running since June. To date, Beneficial State Foundation has already received more than 900 applications and awarded 24 grants for cars ranging from a 2018 Nissan Leaf to a 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid.

The statewide Clean Vehicle Assistance Program provides personal grants of up to $5,000, and financial education services, to help lower-income Californians purchase a used or new conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery-electric car.

Qualified applicants also can receive low-interest-rate loans (at an interest rate of 8% or less) through the program’s preferred lending partner, Beneficial State Bank.

Designed for California’s low-income and disadvantaged communities, the program is open to all California residents who meet the income eligibility requirements.

This pilot project complements other California Climate Investment-funded low-carbon transportation projects, including programs that help Californians scrap their older, more polluting vehicle and replace it with a clean-technology car.

As a nonprofit dedicated to supporting economic and community development in low-income communities, Beneficial State Foundation has a decade of experience innovating within the financial industry to promote fair and transparent banking services to low-income and historically underserved individuals and communities.



Offer it for previously owned EVs.
Many low income families could use a cleaner car that costs less to operate.

Nick Lyons

Used vehicles are eligible--up to 8 years old with no more than 75K miles.


Of course, what this is going to do is bid up the price of used EVs without putting a single new one on the road.

One more giveaway to the early adopters.


Engineer-poet. If you don't like it, become an early adopter.


I've been driving a PHEV for 5 years, and I don't even live in Commiefornia.

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