CARB helps low income afford EVs
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CARB helps certain income bracket afford electric vehicles

Good news if you live in California, are considered low income and really, really want an electric vehicle (EV).

The California Air Resource Board working on helping low income people afford EVs

The California Air Resource Board, CARB is trying to find ways to help those considered low income to reduce their transportation energy cost.  If you live in California and earn between $20,000 to 35,000, and if CARB could implement such a program, many would be able to afford an EV or a Hybrid.  They could also reduce their transportation costs and have access to better jobs.  So just what is considered low-income?  According to the 2013 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, a household income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level” would be considered as part of such a program.

How Would It Work?

If you consider the average household spends on an average between $9,000 to $10,000 a year on transportation energy, CARB would like to see these people reduce their gasoline budget.  Bear in mind we are talking about your average four people household, and that those numbers will vary from city to city.  Nonetheless, an electric vehicle, hybrid, or simply a new car is a big chunk of money for residents in states considered expensive to live in, such as California.

So far, the Bureau of Automotive Repair is accepting applications for the retirement of vehicles in the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program.  This has nothing to do with the famous Cash for Clunkers federal program that operated for 1 month only in 2009.  While no such program is currently operating at this moment, it would help remove old polluting cars from our roads, as well as allow this income bracket access better jobs spending less on energy transportation, as well as lower their carbon footprint.

This CARB program would be part of the Extension of Clean Vehicle Programs and covers the following;

AB 8 clears the way for 10-year extensions of several clean vehicle rebates enacted by AB 118 in 2007, including the Air Quality Improvement Program and the Alternative, Enhance Fleet Modernization Program and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The new law focuses on voluntary trade-ins of high-polluting vehicles by supplying $1,000 incentives to EFMP participants, and $1,500 incentives to EFMP participants with a household income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level.  SB 459 also called for specific steps to ensure vehicle replacement in areas designated as federal extreme non-attainment.

The law enables these extensions to clean vehicle programs by authorizing increases to vehicle registration fees and surcharges into 2024. The law further authorizes the California Energy Commission to supersede the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in managing the deployment of 100 new hydrogen-fueling stations over the next 10 years using $20 million annually. The law also provides a new source of funding for the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program by establishing a new $0.75 surcharge on tire purchases, which is projected to raise $34 million over the next 10 years.

Under SB 359, CARB will receive an additional $48 million in 2014 to continue funding monetary incentives administered through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP). The new law focuses on voluntary trade-ins of high-polluting vehicles by supplying $1,000 rebates to EFMP participants, and $1,500 rebates to EFMP participants with a household income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level. SB 459 requires CARB to update EFMP guidelines by June 30, 2015. In doing so, CARB is authorized to increase the value of early vehicle retirement and replacement rebates for low-income participants beyond existing limits of $1,500 and $2,500, respectively.

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Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart

19 thoughts on “Update: California could help low incomes afford alternative energy vehicles”

  1. What a joke. Their savings will get consumed by higher electric bills, insurance and repair costs. Then the neighborhood crack heads will be constantly stealing their charge cords. Gov. Moonbeam should be providing free bicycles instead so the “blank”, “blank” and “blank” can work off some weight.

  2. While I don’t agree with his reasons, I do agree with Bill that this is a lame program. Families making $30k or less in California are so far below the poverty line in that state that it’s doubtful they could afford a car even if they jump through all the hoops to make it nearly free. With all of the expenditures, including charging station installation, garaging (if they have a garage, which is doubtful), etc., this is just more feel-good legislation.

  3. Hi Bill, as far as their savings going into higher electric bills, we are not there yet, but in a few years, electric bills will go up a lot. I like the bicycle idea, though. Also, I should have made a better point to say that this program is part of a bigger network of programs designed to remove polluting cars off streets. Of course, any programs like that have glaring holes, and will trigger political comments. So it goes.

  4. Hi Aaron, yes, it doesn’t come with all bells and whistles, which is a good thing. This will filter those looking for a free ride, ideally. We all know government and related agencies are not always spot on. Still, I feel there is a lot of good there, and knowing the nature of human beings, there will be abuse.

  5. This could allow some of these people in that tax bracket to access better jobs. Some of these jobs let you charge for free at work. For every objection, there is a counterpart.

    Keep in mind that this program is part of a bigger program designed to remove old cars from the streets. So why not help a few motivated people who are down in the dumps, which doesn’t automoatically mean they are lazy, but maybe just part of the economic downturn backlash? If these people can have a temporary access to a car they can charge at home cheaper and for free at work, than a gasoline pump, why not? I’m playing Devil’s advocate here. I won’t reveal my real thoughts.

    Lastly Aaron, $40,000 will buy you a lot of car but I suspect someone making $20K to 35K will A) buy a much cheaper EV, B) would be aware of the tax incentives.

    Let’s give people a little credence. Not everyone is good or bad. Now Rumi says, come in the middle.

  6. This article is confusing the CA CVRP and the EFMP programs. I just spoke to PR at CA ARB and there is no such program for purchasing electric vehicles per se.

    1. Hi Joel, yes it is and we are working with CARB to see what points are confusing. We will update it as soon as we know more, in a few hours. Thank you for your comment.

  7. Many, if not most lower income folks drive older, larger, less fuel-efficient cars – probably because that is the only thing they can afford. If they could upgrade to a new hybrid or EV for a discounted price – the environmental benefit alone would be worth the investment.

    1. Absolutely, nicely said, nicely done. Unfortunately too many people see this through political or idealistic lenses, which has so far never helped our nations live better lives. I was helped when I was down, I’ll do the same. I’m more productive today, so will another. Not helping others in our communities drags us down. Of course, you can’t go too far with that, but it’s always a question of balance.

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