California Charges Ahead by Expanding Access to Electric and High-Efficiency Vehicles

Experts

Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment

By Shannon Baker-Branstetter on Friday, September 26th, 2014

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills California_state_flag-300x200that will help more consumers benefit from the state’s clean vehicle programs.  This is good news for car owners who feel stuck with high gasoline bills and high emission vehicles and want lower operating costs and a cleaner ride.

SB 1275 (De Leόn)

Through its vehicle testing over the last decade, Consumer Reports has witnessed a tremendous improvement in fuel economy, performance, safety, and comfort across new vehicle fleets.   But, since new vehicles are more expensive than used vehicles, lower-income drivers tend to have older, less efficient vehicles.  In addition, the typically higher upfront purchase price of zero-emission vehicles combined with a lack of access to reasonably priced financing have been significant barriers for low- and moderate-income consumers to purchase zero-emission vehicles.

Enter SB 1275.  Supported by Greenlining and others, SB 1275 will expand California’s clean vehicle programs to increase consumer access to high efficiency and zero-emission vehicles.   By enhancing and targeting vehicle rebates and requiring the development of financing and leasing options for low- and moderate-income consumers, SB 1275 will help consumers who pay a disproportionately high share of their income on gasoline access the newer, cleaner, more efficient vehicles that are now available.

The bill also targets multifamily dwellings in disadvantaged communities for charging infrastructure and requires public outreach for all beneficiaries of the program.  In short, SB 1275 will help low- and moderate-income families save money on their fuel bills, while reducing air pollution in our communities and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

SB 1204 (Lara)

SB 1204 supports the California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program to clean up some of the worst air pollution in the state and improve public health, especially in low-income communities disproportionately impacted by unhealthy air.

SB 1204 sets up a program that will help equip medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and freight with advanced clean technologies.  Deploying zero-emission trucks and buses is essential to improve air quality for the four in ten Californians who live near busy roads, many of whom suffer from asthma and other pollution-related conditions.

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