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Plus-Up program helps families get into cleaner cars

California is offering huge incentives to help families replace their old, dirty, polluting cars with new, cleaner cars in the Greater Los Angeles area and the San Joaquin Valley. This program can make an enormous impact because these types of older, heavily polluting vehicles  are responsible for 80% of the states total pollution, though they represent just 25% of all vehicles on the road according to Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols.

The pilot Plus-Up Project was launched on 5/27/15 outside the state capitol, and celebrated its first new car owner, Jose Mendoza, by crushing his old ’84 pickup truck and replacing it with a 2 year-old hybrid that gets 50 miles to the gallon. Because of the savings on gas, Mendoza says he will be able to make the remaining payments on his 2013 Prius and that “nothing extra is going to come out of my pocket”.

The Plus-Up Project, also known as the Fleet Modernization Program, will provide incentives on a sliding scale, with the most funding available for the lowest-income families moving to the cleanest cars, up to $12,000. Plus-Up also offers up to $2,000 for a charging unit in homes, an additional $1,500-$2,500 for the purchase or lease of a new plug-in hybrid from the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, or a public transit pass valued between $2,500-$4,500 for residents who scrap an eligible old car and don’t replace it. The amount of incentive and the types of eligible replacement vehicles varies depending on which of 3 income tiers a resident is in and on whether or not they also live in a ZIP code designated as disadvantaged. Even those making up to 400% of the federal poverty level will still be eligible for substantial incentives to replace an eligible vehicle.

A total of $4.8 million is expected for this pilot program to replace about 600 cars, and the ARB plans to extend and expand the program 10 fold next year. AB 32 and other related bills generate and direct funds from the cap-and-trade program to this and other projects aimed at benefiting the disadvantaged communities in California who are the hardest-hit by pollution and global warming.

Electric vehicles are available for test drives and people are on-hand to answer questions about transitioning to cleaner transportation at the states Tune In and Tune Up events. For event information, email TITUEvent@valley-can.org, visit Valley Clean Air Now, or call 1-800-806-2004.

This smart and impressive investment from the state of California will help meet Governor Jerry Brown’s call for 1.5 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2025 and the emission reduction goals for 2020, 2030 and 2050. It will also reduce emissions, decrease pollution, and play a big role in improving the financial outlook and quality of life for disadvantaged and low-income residents.