SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board on Feb. 15 began the second year of grants totaling $19 million for hybrid vehicle technology that significantly reduces smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program will provide vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis to help California fleets purchase fuel-efficient hybrid medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. At least $2 million of these funds will be set aside for California public fleets to increase the number of hybrid vehicles.

"This program created an opportunity for California businesses to upgrade their trucks and proves that there is demand for technology that provides clean and fuel-efficient vehicles," said CARB Executive Officer James Goldstene.

Interested public and private fleets can reserve a voucher for up to $40,000 through a participating dealership at the time the vehicle is ordered. The voucher is then redeemed at the time of purchase. 

The program is part of the Air Quality Improvement Program, established in 2007 by AB 118 (Nunez) to provide funding for advanced technology vehicles and equipment. 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. 

Last year, CARB helped California fleets purchase more than 650 hybrid trucks and buses. Almost half the vouchers were for urban beverage-delivery vehicles and about 20 percent for package-delivery vehicles. The hybrid technology is similar to that used in cars and helps reduce smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. The technology also provides fuel-economy benefits, particularly in vehicles that require heavy stop-and-go operation or idling. 

The program received an award in September 2010 from American Council for a Fuel-Efficient Economy. The Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program was one of 18 top programs from 14 states.

CARB encourages air districts to contribute to the program to further accelerate the presence of hybrid trucks and buses in their respective districts. The South Coast Air Quality Management District, for example, has contributed $1.4 million to help fleets purchase hybrid trucks and buses in its own region. 

Hybrid vehicles reduce smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions and help California meet health-based clean-air standards and climate-change goals.

For more information about the voucher incentive program, visit