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  • Writer's pictureCorey L. Wilson

California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program Expands Statewide

From Utility Dive, the California clean vehicle rebate program expands statewide and the state’s rebate incentives will help lower-income consumers access electric and fuel-cell vehicles.

Dive Brief:

  • The California Air Resources Board announced Monday a new statewide program to help low- and middle-income residents purchase or lease new or used zero-emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

  • The new program — an expansion of the existing Clean Cars 4 All program, which was previously available in five districts — will provide rebates up to $12,000 for those scrapping and replacing older, polluting vehicles, or up to $7,500 for those not scrapping a vehicle.

  • The current Clean Vehicle Rebate Project will continue to accept applications until its funds run out, which is expected to occur later this year.

Dive Insight:

Older, pre-2004 vehicles in California pollute almost three times as much as all newer vehicles combined, despite making up only 12% of miles driven, according to a June report from the Union of Concerned Scientists and nonprofit The Greenlining Institute.

The damaging effects of pollution from these older gasoline and diesel vehicles unduly harm Latino, Black and disadvantaged communities, along with lower-income households, the report says. But the average transaction price of a new electric vehicle in July was $53,469, according to Cox Automotive, which may be unaffordable for many in those populations.

California’s current Clean Vehicle Rebate Project issued $1.2 billion in rebates since its inception in 2010. According to CARB, the rebates helped avoid 9.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions to date. Per an analysis by UCS Senior Engineer in the Clean Transportation program David Reichmuth, an average EV in California gets the equivalent of 116 miles per gallon.

“A clean air future is only possible if every Californian can access clean transportation options, and equity will continue to be a guiding priority for our future efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045,” said CARB Executive Officer Steven Cliff in a press release.

According to CARB, applications for the CVRP program have recently increased, setting a record 14,000 applications in July. The program is part of California Climate Investments, which funds the program with proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade program and is administered by the Center for Sustainable Energy.

Lawrence Goldenhersh, president of the Center for Sustainable Energy, said in a press release, “CVRP played a material role in accelerating the consumer’s embrace of EV passenger vehicles in California.”

But, Reichmuth said in an email, “CARB should have these programs prioritize people that have older cars and target outreach and education to areas with high concentrations of older cars and limited uptake of zero-emission vehicles.”

The new program will open the state’s Clean Cars 4 All program to all of California. According to a CARB spokesperson, based on last year’s record allocation for the Clean Cars 4 All program, “Staff anticipates that [allocation] will keep the statewide and district programs funded through at least next year.”

This article is courtesy of Dan Zukowski at Utility Dive published Aug. 24, 2023, and image courtesy of EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER via Getty Images.

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