As a direct result of the state’s Clean Cars 4 All program, more than 10,000 Californians have now scrapped old, dirty cars and replaced them with cleaner alternatives such as new and used zero-emission, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid cars.
There is strong consumer demand for Clean Cars 4 All (CC4A) which incentivizes lower-income California drivers to scrap their older, high-polluting cars and replace them with clean cars. Air districts, which administer the individual programs under CC4A, report that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, total participation rates have continued to rise. Assembly Bill 630 (2017, Cooper) established the CC4A program.
As of 30 September 2020, $82.5 million had been spent on incentives within Clean Cars 4 All. Operating since 2015 in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts, CC4A has since expanded to the Bay Area and Sacramento Metropolitan air districts. As of 30 September 2020, there were 10,379 participants. The participant breakdown is as follows:
Replace Your Ride, South Coast Air Quality Management District: 6,510 participants
Drive Clean in the San Joaquin, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: 2,894 participants
Clean Cars for All, Bay Area Air Quality Management District: 953 participants
The newest Clean Cars 4 All program, administered by the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, is just getting underway and already has had 22 participants.
The transportation sector is by far the state’s largest source of air pollution and climate-changing gases. Clean Cars 4 All is one of several vehicle-purchase incentive program helping Californians make the switch to clean vehicles. CARB says that incentives play a pivotal role in supporting California’s air quality, climate and petroleum-reduction goals. They accelerate the transition of fleets to zero-emission in line with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20 requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035.
Eighty-nine percent of program participants have household incomes that fall into the low income bracket (≤ 225% of the federal poverty level, which is $58,950 per year for a household size of four), and 89% also reside in disadvantaged communities. These incentive funds can be stacked with incentive dollars from the statewide Clean Vehicle Rebate Project so that a low-income participant can receive up to $14,000 for a new battery-electric vehicle. The average vehicle retired is about 22 years old with an estimated fuel economy of 21.5 miles per gallon. The average replacement vehicle has a fuel economy of 80 mpg equivalent.
While the focus of Clean Cars 4 All is enabling low-income Californians to replace older, high polluting vehicles with cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles (minimum fuel efficiency of 35 mpg or better), it also incentivizes other alternative means of transportation. In 2019, SB 400 (authored by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana)) allowed electric bikes to be included as a mobility option within Clean Cars 4 All, in addition to options such as transit passes.
Clean Cars 4 All is funded through the California Climate Investments and the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program fees authorized under AB 8 (2013, Perea). California Climate Investments is 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 disadvantaged communities. About 55 percent of these funds have benefitted disadvantaged and low-income communities, and low-income households. These investments have put more than 400,000 zero-emission cars, trucks, transit buses, school buses, and freight equipment into operation in California.