Up to $1,500 off: California rolls out a new incentive program for clean cars
By Rob Nikolewski, The San Diego Union-Tribune
Tribune Content Agency|
Nov 19, 2020 at 8:54 AM
In another example of California encouraging drivers to buy zero- or low-emissions vehicles, the California Air Resources Board and the state’s utilities have teamed up to launch a program offering a discount of up to $1,500 on the purchase or lease of new electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids.
Called the California Clean Fuel Reward, the program is open to all residents of the Golden State, provided they register the vehicles with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
“The goal of the program is to accelerate the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on California’s roads and highways,” Sandy Berg, vice chair of the Air Resources Board, said in a statement.
Power companies across the state are taking part, including San Diego Gas & Electric. The program is being administered by Southern California Edison.
The discount can be stacked on top of federal, state and local incentive programs already in place, such as the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project that offers rebates of $2,000 for EVs and $1,000 for plug-in hybrids.
“When you factor in rewards like the California Clean Fuel Reward and lower fuel and maintenance costs, EVs are on par with and can cost less than gasoline-powered cars,” Carter Prescott, principal manager for the eMobility team at Edison, said in an email.
Battery-powered motorcycles are also eligible for the Clean Fuel Reward. However, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are not, with a spokeswoman for Edison saying the program is targeted at EVs.
The discount is applied at the time the sale or lease is made. The reward program rolled out early this week and its list of participating dealers came to 115 statewide. Eight dealers in San Diego County have enrolled but organizers say they expect the list to expand with time.
The money for the program comes from the sale of credits in the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard — a program in which the makers of carbon-intense products buy credits from clean-fuel producers, such as utilities.
According to the Air Resources Board, the transportation sector accounts for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution and 80% of smog-forming pollution.
The rollout for the California Clean Fuel Reward comes two months after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that will ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles in the state by 2035.
Before leaving office, former Gov. Jerry Brown called for 5 million zero-emission vehicles to be on state roads by 2030 and set a target of installing 250,000 vehicle charging stations by 2025. As of Nov. 3, just under 764,000 zero-emission vehicles had been sold in California.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 10-point “green industrial revolution” that includes outlawing the sale of vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel in the United Kingdom by 2030.