The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will be helping low income residents of the Los Angeles area and the San Joaquin Valley purchase electric or hybrid vehicles. In an announcement released yesterday, ARB said the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program and Plus-Up Pilot Project (EFMP) will provide cash vouchers for those who meet eligibility requirements and wish to replace or scrap their older, dirtier vehicles for cleaner, more fuel efficient ones or public transit vouchers.
The program is partially funded through proceeds from cap-and-trade-revenue under the California Climate Investments Initiative and AB 118.
Incentives for the program will be given on a sliding scale. With the lowest income families who move up to the cleanest vehicles getting the largest cash amounts. Incentives range from $2,500 to $12,000, which certain families could receive for the purchase of an electric car, for example.
Vehicles may be replaced with more fuel efficient conventional gasoline-powered cars, conventional hybrids, plug-in hybrids, or an electric car. Alternatively, an older car may be scrapped and a public transit voucher, worth between $2,500 and $4,500 may be chosen.
ARB, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) spent over a year developing the EFMP program. Each air agency modified it to suit the needs of its respective district.
“What’s not to like about a program that cuts greenhouse gases, cleans the air and helps low-income families in the most polluted neighborhoods afford the cleanest, most fuel-efficient cars? And, as icing on the cake, it will put money in their wallets by slashing what they spend at the pump,” Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. “Thanks to the leadership of Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, the Plus-Up program is a smart investment in California’s hardest hit communities, and fulfills the promise that California’s efforts to fight climate change will benefit us all.”
Eligibility for the program is broken down by three household income levels:
- Income equal to or less than 225 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)
- Income between 226 and 300 percent of the FPL
- Income between 301 and 400 percent of the FPL.
Qualifying consumers who meet the above requirements could receive up to $4,500. Additional funding is available for those who live in a ZIP code with a designated “disadvantaged” census tract as a result of SB 535 (De Leon), which directs funds to provide benefits for disadvantaged communities most impacted by pollution and poverty. Another bill driving the program is the Charge Ahead California Initiative, SB 1271 (De Leon), also geared toward those who are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, to ensure that they benefit from California’s transition to a clean transportation sector.