Revamping Our Clean Car Rebate Program
Roughly half of the country's zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), 613,000 clean cars, can be found on California roads today. But the state has a long way to go to reach its goal of five million clean cars by 2030. That's why I introduced AB 1046, which reforms the way we give rebates to consumers who buy or lease ZEVs, so people make the switch sooner rather than later.
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project currently offers a fixed rebate amount, depending on the make and model of the car. But what incentive is there to transition to clean vehicles now if people know the rebate is the same year after year?
My proposal would motivate people to make the shift by increasing the rebate to as much as $7,500, triple the current amount. Then, as more people move toward clean cars, the rebate amount would decline over time. I believe this change would boost rebate demand and accelerate the adoption of ZEVs. Not only does that get us closer to our 2030 target, but it also helps fight our climate crisis.
Nearly 40% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the transportation sector. We cannot reduce these toxic pollutants from the air we breathe or reduce our impact on global warming without looking at the vehicles we drive. Bigger rebates prescribed under AB 1046 will help increase the number of ZEVs today.
My bill also requires the state to identify a steady rebate revenue stream. This would guarantee consumers receive their rebate, instead of being put on a waiting list when funds run out. The program is currently supported through year-to-year funding in the state budget with no guarantee lawmakers will continue the appropriation, or at what level. Too often, potential buyers have been discouraged when rebates are not immediately available, delaying their transition to clean cars. This uncertainty will go away if AB 1046 is signed into law.
I'm also happy to announce $1.5 million in new funding I secured in this year's state budget to help the Air Resources Board study how California can significantly reduce emissions from vehicles and achieve carbon neutrality in the transportation sector. Paired with my plan to boost clean car incentives, our state will make significant progress in cleaning our air and slowing our climate emergency.
Assemblymember, 19th District