SACRAMENTO – The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved $28 million in Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) funding to support two popular statewide incentive programs aimed at bringing the cleanest vehicle technologies to low-income and underserved communities.

California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) provide incentives to purchase the cleanest medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and Clean Cars 4 All incentivizes lower-income California drivers to scrap their older, high-polluting cars and replace them with zero-emission, plug-in hybrid or hybrid vehicles.

Each of these vehicle-purchase incentive programs helps businesses and individuals make the switch to clean vehicles and helps grow the market for these technologies. The transportation sector is by far the state’s largest source of air pollution and climate-changing gases, and the prime source of air pollution in communities adjacent to ports, rail yards, distribution centers, and goods movement corridors that suffer from high levels of diesel pollution.

“It’s critical that we clean up the way we move people and goods and these investments will help accelerate that change,” CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said. “These programs will help remove the dirtiest cars and trucks from our roads and highways, and provide access to the cleanest vehicles for low-income families, and California communities hardest hit by pollution.”

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 requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2035, and requiring all medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold in California to be zero-emission by 2045, where feasible.

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Of $28.64 million appropriated by the Legislature in AQIP funding, the FY 2020-21 Funding Plan provides $25 million for HVIP, $3 million for Clean Cars 4 All, and $0.64 million for a fiscal reserve.

HVIP

With this funding, HVIP will reopen to new applicants after being on hold since November 2019.

The highly successful HVIP, which provides point-of-sale price reductions on zero-emission trucks and buses, kick-started the market for these vehicles in California. To date, HVIP has provided vouchers for fleets to buy more than 7,500 zero-emission and other clean trucks and buses — with a goal to advance early commercial technologies that are needed to meet California’s clean air and climate goals. More than two-thirds of vehicles purchased through the program are operating in disadvantaged and low-income communities, which are disproportionately burdened by harmful air pollutants and subject to heavy truck traffic.

HVIP now provides incentives for zero-emission trucks and buses from two dozen manufacturers, including several big rig trucks. Consistent with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order, the plan approved today includes an emphasis on immediate support for zero-emission short haul (drayage) trucks, as well as Board direction to develop new and innovative programs for owner-operators and small fleets.

Clean Cars 4 All

As a direct result of this program, low-income Californians have scrapped more than 9,500 old cars and replaced them with new or used zero-emission, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid cars through Clean Cars 4 All. There is strong consumer demand for Clean Cars 4 All, and this funding will help to keep these popular air district-run programs operating until the Legislature appropriates more funding.

Future Steps

The Fiscal Year 2020-21 Funding Plan for Clean Transportation Incentives is part of California’s comprehensive strategy for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. It builds on the success of the funding plans over the past 11 years that have invested $2.5 billion to date for clean-transportation projects in California.

The bulk of these funds come 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 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.

This year’s funding is from AQIP since the Legislature deferred action on the portion funded by cap-and-trade proceeds until 2021. To keep momentum on clean transportation, however, the Board included provisions in the plan that allow CARB to quickly provide additional funding to these key zero-emission vehicle projects should a cap-and-trade auction proceeds budget be approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. To enable this, the Board granted CARB’s executive officer authority to immediately move a portion of these funds, if and when they are available, to projects such as HVIP and Clean Cars 4 All to help meet demand from low-income consumers and California fleets.

More Information

The mission of CARB is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. CARB is the lead agency for climate change programs and oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards.

Source: CARB