SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board said that an innovative financial incentive program has helped put over 650 hybrid trucks and buses on California roads.
The Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program provides $20,000 to $35,000 as vouchers to help California fleets offset the purchase price of advanced-technology hybrid trucks and buses. The technology significantly reduces greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions, particularly in heavy idling or stop-and-go vehicles.
The hybrid truck program also recently received recognition by the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy as one of the nation's best energy efficiency programs.
"We are honored that California's ongoing effort to bring the most efficient delivery trucks to our streets was recognized by this national organization," said CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "The trucks and buses that these funds help purchase use proven advanced technology to improve fuel efficiency and clean our air."
CARB created the financial incentive program in 2007 under AB 118 (Nunez), legislation that provided funding for a range of alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. CARB's voucher program is implemented by CALSTART, a non-profit organization that works with business, fleets and government to develop and implement clean, efficient transportation solutions. CALSTART provides the vouchers to truck dealerships at the time a vehicle is ordered on a first-come, first-served basis.
All $19 million dedicated to the voucher program under the original legislation to help Californians purchase cleaner, hybrid vehicles has now been distributed. Up to an additional $25 million was approved by the board this past June to fund more hybrid vehicles beginning early 2011.
Most of the vehicles funded were beverage and package delivery trucks, with almost all funding going to private fleets. Over 300 of the vehicles are classified as heavy-duty trucks, and over 200 are classified as light-duty trucks. While most of the funded vehicles were located in the South Coast and Bay Area Air Quality Management Districts, smaller air districts such as Shasta and Kern County Air Quality Management Districts also had recipients.
Because of the success of the state incentive program, the South Coast Air Quality Management District's board of directors recently approved an additional $1.4 million to help fleets purchase hybrid trucks and buses in their own region. These additional funds should be available in the next month.
Hybrid vehicles reduce smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions and help California meet health-based clean air standards and climate change goals.