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Cash for (Polluting) Clunkers


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1. July 2014

Remember the “Cash for Clunkers” program (officially the Car Allowance Rebate System) from the summer of 2009?

Well, the California Air Resources Board is providing a green spin on this, with an enhancement of its Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP). The objective of EFMP is to scrap out higher-polluting cars and light- and medium-duty trucks.

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Said Mary D. Nichols, CARB chairman, “Action taken by the Board today will provide $100-million to directly benefit disadvantaged communities. The funding plan and ARB’s amended ‘car scrap’ program together provide emission reductions for all Californians and financial incentives for those who need it the most.”

Low-income residents with polluting vehicles—before they’re scrapped, they must complete a Smog Check test—will get incentives to buy a used hybrid or other vehicle that gets at least 35 miles per gallon, or funding for a new or used plug-in hybrid. The incentive is as high as $4,500.

In addition to which, the state of California is adding $116-million to provide rebates to purchases of zero and near-zero emissions cars, and is offering $5,000 for those who get a fuel-cell powered vehicle.

My “Autoline After Hours” colleague John McElroy has long contended that California is pretty much working to create a whole class of cars—zero-emissions vehicles—through funding and legislation. Looks like he has more ammo for his argument.

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