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State and Regional Incentives for Emissions Reductions in Transportation

August 27, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Charging Stations, Clean Air, Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

The last post examined San Diego’s regional plans for reducing GHGs. Transportation demand and system management strategies, reduced conventional vehicle miles traveled, and a substantial increase in zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), along with state and federal transportation policy changes, are all necessary at an ambitious level to achieve California GHG reduction goals of 80% by 2050. In the following post, I’ll examine how incentive programs achieve GHG reduction goals.

California has a number of vehicle incentive programs to encourage the adoption of low carbon vehicles. These offer an important complement to substantial federal incentives. Present federal incentives include a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500 for electric vehicles and 10% of the purchase price for zero emission motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles. California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) provides up to $5,000 for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, $2,500 for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and $900 for electric motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). In more disadvantaged and polluted areas, the state has a Public Fleet Pilot Project for public agencies instead of CVRP. This increases the rebate to $15,000 for fuel-cell vehicles, $10,000 for BEVs and $5,250 for PHEVs. Another state incentive, focusing on hybrid and electric trucks and buses, is the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). HVIP vouchers range from $8,000 to $45,000 for the purchase of hybrid or electric trucks or buses. California also grants carpool lane access to electric vehicles. Finally, air quality management districts may offer vehicle incentives. Some of these are stackable with state and federal incentives.

Regional PEV purchase incentives vary considerably, even in-state. In California, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) offer good examples. Through its Drive Clean! Rebate Program, the SJVAPCD offers a $2,000 rebate for the purchase or lease of PHEVs and $3,000 for BEVs, as well as $1,000 for residential charging station installation and up to 50% of public charging station equipment and installation costs. The region’s New Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program offers up to $20,000 per vehicle purchased by a public agency and up to $100,000 annually per agency. A third incentive is the HVIP “Plus-Up.” The San Joaquin Valley offers up to $30,000 more beyond the state-issued HVIP. Finally, several cities in the region are eligible for the statewide PACE HERO Financing program offered by Renovate America. Financing supports the purchase and installation of permanent energy efficiency and renewable energy products, including electric vehicle chargers.

The BAAQMD offers a similar array of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) purchase incentives, but with different qualifications and funding amounts. The Electric Vehicle Project (EVP) for Business Fleets offers $400 for PHEVs and $700 for BEVs, and the EVP for Public Fleets offers $1,000 for PHEVs and $2,000 for BEVs. The vehicle buy back offers residents $1,000 for replacing model year 1994 vehicles and older. In 2015, the BAAQMD also began a regional electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) Charge! program, which offers funding for charging stations along high-traffic transportation corridors. Charge! provides up to $20,000 for direct circuit (DC) fast charger installation, as well as funding for charging stations at workplaces and multi-unit dwellings.

The Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission have created a long-range PEV Readiness Plan. With goals of addressing climate change and transportation, it also outlines a number of PEV incentive programs. The Plan includes a $25 million Clean Vehicles Feebate Program; a $120 million Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive; and the $80 million Regional EVSE Charge! Network. The Feebate Program is proposed to begin in 2020 and would charge vehicle purchasers a fee for vehicles that exceed a carbon emissions standard. Revenue collected would be rebated to purchasers of vehicles that have carbon emissions below the standard. The Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive would offer $1,000 for PHEVs and $2,000 for BEVs. Beginning in 2015, the EVSE Charge! program offers incentives of $250 for Level 1 charging stations and $2,100 for Level 2 charging stations. Other comprehensive goals of the Bay Area Plan include improving building code standards for EVSEs; helping to develop statewide PEV readiness guidelines, multi-unit dwelling and workplace guidelines; helping to expedite EVSE permitting; creating a business calculator for EVSE ownership; and creating a monitoring program for adoption of medium- and heavy-duty PEVs in fleets.

Incentive Program Current and Expected Accomplishments

Both the BAAQMD and the SJVAPCD electric vehicle incentive programs align with their regional PEV readiness plans to meet statewide ZEV adoption goals. They have already yielded several achievements and can expect more as their ZEV and other transportation initiatives continue. Program success can be measured in various ways.

Four of the five most ozone polluted cities in the country are in the San Joaquin Valley, so expected economic and health improvements of ZEV adoption in the SJVAPCD are especially important proxies of success. As noted in a report on the environmental benefits of regional PEV adoption, a study at California State University, Fullerton, found that there are 812 particulate matter (PM)-related deaths in the San Joaquin Valley annually. By attaining federal ozone and PM standards, largely through reduced emissions from conventional vehicles, the study estimates that residents could save $5.73 billion in economic costs and $2.5 billion in medical costs and mortality annually. Additionally, as noted in the same report, high ozone levels have been shown to inhibit plant growth, and the San Joaquin Valley’s economy is centrally dependent on agriculture.

In the SJVAPCD, the increase of rebates and charging stations are other useful proxies of success for ZEV incentives. By August 2015, over 2,600 rebates had been processed by Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP); the Drive Clean! program had approved 2,094 rebates worth $5.8 million, with 450 more expected by the end of 2015; The New Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program had disbursed 906 rebates totaling $14.3 million, with 122 more expected by the end of 2015; and by July 2015, the HVIP program has processed 281 vouchers for a total of $7.3 million. Additionally, from 2013 to 2014, the HVIP Plus-Up disbursed 109 rebates totaling $2 million. While the growth in ZEV purchases can’t be attributed to any one incentive alone, it does indicate that incentives have likely helped. According to a 2013 California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Driver Survey, 91% of San Joaquin Valley respondents said the state rebate was an important motivation for buying a PEV, with 68% claiming it was “very” or “extremely” important. As for increasing the availability of public charging stations, according to a Center for Sustainability report on San Joaquin Valley PEVs, there were 38 public Level 1 and 2 and 7 public direct current (DC) fast chargers in the San Joaquin Valley in November 2013. By July 2015, the user-generated website listed 128 public Level 1 and 2 chargers and 12 public DC fast chargers. Thus, SJVAPCD’s EVSE Charge! program seems to be influential in expanding the charging station network.


Source: Center for Sustainable Energy, 2013.

The BAAQMD shows a similar increase in PEV adoption and an expected increase in charging station installation. According to a 2010 U.S. automotive market study by Deloitte, 70% of consumers cite price as the main consideration for buying a PEV. They believe that price should be cost competitive with non-PEV models. There were 13,000 PEVs in the BAAQMD in 2013, and over 44,000 by August 2015, according to the Bay Area PEV Readiness Plan and the CVRP. PEV adoption is increasing quickly in the region, and incentives will be key to maintaining adoption trends. From HVIP’s inception through July 2015, residents in the BAAQMD have received 464 incentives for a total of $15.5 million, and the Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive is expected to encourage adoption of 50,000 vehicles. Regarding charging stations, as of July 2015, listed 842 public Level 1 and 2 charging stations and 97 public DC fast charge stations throughout the air district. With the average Bay Area commute distance being 13 miles, more local charging stations should substantially increase the ratio of electricity-powered miles to gasoline-powered miles traveled by PHEVs. Plus, the Charge! EVSE program stipulates that 20% of DC fast chargers will be installed in “Impacted/Environmental Justice” designated communities. Combined, these steps can be expected to foster widespread PEV adoption across income levels.

The Bay Area’s PEV Readiness Plan suggests its initiatives will produce numerous GHG reduction benefits. Its Clean Vehicles Feebate Program is expected to reduce per capita emissions reductions 0.7%, its Vehicle Buyback and PEV Purchase Incentive is expected to reduce per capita emissions reductions 0.5%, and its Regional EVSE Network is expected to reduce per capita emissions reductions 0.3%.

California regional incentive programs offer varying levels and types of financial support for ZEV purchase and EVSE installation. Some can be coupled with state and federal incentives; some are designed to particularly benefit businesses, fleets, multi-unit housing or low-income communities; and some are targeted at heavy-duty vehicles. In the next post, I’ll discuss why a ZEV incentive program may be particularly useful for the San Diego region to meet its regional and state GHG emission reduction goals for 2050. How many ZEVs are presently in the region? How many more would be needed to meet state goals? What are the current incentives, and are there any unique opportunities or challenges for the San Diego region?

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San Diego Regional Planning for Greenhouse Gas Reduction and the Role of Electric Vehicles

August 25, 2015 in Clean Air, Electric Vehicles

In addition to considering the air quality benefits of zero emission vehicle (ZEV) adoption, as discussed in a recent post, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has extensively considered means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation countywide. The state-administered Advanced Clean Car Program and Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and the San Diego region’s Sustainable Communities Strategies and regional transportation demand and system management strategies (TDM and TSM) will be the main means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector. According to SANDAG, these measures could reduce GHG emissions from cars and light duty trucks from 35,000 tons/day in 2012 to 17,000 tons/day in 2035 (San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, Appendix D). However, to continue progress toward the California goal of 80% GHG emissions reductions by 2050, SANDAG has assessed the GHG reduction impact of various additional avenues.

EV charging

Source: San Diego Association of Governments, 2015.

In San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan, SANDAG considered several transportation policy scenarios that could help reach an 80% reduction in regional GHG emissions by 2050. These are informed by both California Air Resources Board and Caltrans statewide transportation GHG emissions reductions scenarios, outlined in the ARB Draft Vision for Clean Air and the Caltrans Draft California Transportation Plan 2040. While the more ambitious scenarios SANDAG considers that achieve an 80% reduction require new state and federal policies, the less ambitious scenarios are centrally composed of transportation policies outlined in San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. SANDAG’s first scenario is a baseline, projecting the impact of California policies already in place, plus proposed TDM and TSM strategies. Policies factored into the baseline scenario include the Advanced Clean Car Program, the California Renewables Portfolio Standard, and the LCFS. TDM and TSM strategies include freeway and roadway management, advanced transportation and vehicle technology, transportation hubs, bike parking, vanpooling and carpooling, and expanded electric vehicle charging, among other programs (Appendix D). All of these are incorporated in the Regional Plan. The first scenario also assumes additional TDM and TSM strategies beyond 2035 continue to decrease emissions. These would produce a statewide GHG reduction of over 50% from 2012 by 2035 (Figure D.1). Scenario 2 is more ambitious, and falls just shy of meeting the California goal of an 80% GHG emission reduction by 2050. It follows the assumptions of Scenario 1 to 2035, then includes a phase-in of alternative fuel vehicles and ZEVs, as well as other measures to decrease vehicle miles traveled (VMT) (Figure D.1). Several transportation programs in the Regional Plan would accomplish a significant reduction in VMT. SANDAG also notes Scenario 2 would require significant state and federal policy changes in addition to aggressive regional measures (Appendix D). The third and fourth scenarios would require even more ambitious adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and ZEVs, accompanied by VMT reduction measures (Appendix D). SANDAG shows that these would be necessary for the region to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector by 80% by 2050 (Figure D.1). Thus, to meet state emissions goals, regional ZEV incentives would be particularly useful.


Figure D.1. Total Projected Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Cars and Light-Duty Trucks for the San Diego Region. The red line, dashed yellow, peach, and orange lines show expected emissions reductions from scenarios 1-4, respectively. Source: San Diego Association of Association of Governments, 2015. Appendix D, San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan.

The next post will further explore ZEV incentive programs and how they have contributed to GHG reductions in other regions. In particular, I’ll discuss incentives offered by the BAAQMD and SJVAPCD, as well as the state of California. How have their programs been implemented? What achievements have they produced of do they expect to produce? Then, in the next post, I’ll consider implications for vehicle incentives on San Diego County’s own GHG goals.

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Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project Accepting Applications

August 6, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Funding

CEC logo

The California Energy Commission funded Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project (NGVIP) will begin accepting applications on Friday, August 7, 2015. NGVIP provides incentives to reduce the purchase price of new on-road natural gas vehicles in California. The program has a total of $10.2 million in funding, and incentives range from $1,000 to $25,000 depending on the gross vehicle weight. Vehicles must be registered in California and operated in-state at least 90% of the time for three years. Applicants must receive an incentive reservation confirmation before purchasing an eligible vehicle. Incentives are available on a first-come, first-served basis. NGVIP will be administered by the Institute of Transportation Studies at University of California on behalf of the California Energy Commission. To read more details and to apply, please visit

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ZEV Readiness Part II: Best Practices for Regional Electric Vehicle Programs

August 6, 2015 in Charging Stations, Clean Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

New regional electric vehicle charging plans contain many of the same key recommendations, along with unique components reflecting regional characteristics. Two distinct regions that offer insightful plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) plans include the San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD). While San Francisco is the state and national per capita leader in PEV adoption with 37% of California registered PEVs, the San Joaquin Valley, with 1% of California registered PEVs, is in the beginning phase of expanding its PEV infrastructure. The San Joaquin Valley has simultaneously been making strides in PEV adoption, particularly since fall 2012. Despite their differences, both the San Francisco Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley regions offer useful regional PEV plans with best practices for nationwide PEV adoption.

SJV EV Picture

Nissan Leaf charging at Visalia’s Fox Theater. Source: Center for Sustainable Energy, 2013.

As of late 2013, the SJVAPCD’s jurisdiction had only a limited number  of Level 2 charging stations, mostly located in the eight towns of Modesto, Stockton, Tracy, Lodi, Fresno, Clovis, Visalia, and Bakersfield, and no direct current (DC) fast charge stations. PEV ownership is concentrated in these eight towns. Considering the geographic extent of the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most apparent barriers to PEV adoption is a lack of infrastructure to support PEV charging and use. Fortunately, as Phase I of its PEV Readiness Plan notes, the SJVAPCD began studying best infrastructure siting and deployment in 2014. Other central recommendations identified to increase PEV adoption in the San Joaquin Valley include creating zoning, signage and parking policies, updating building codes, providing incentives for education of maintenance personnel, increasing resources available to municipal planning agencies that often have limited staff to update zoning codes, communicating to businesses and residents about the benefits of PEV adoption, and using the San Joaquin Valley Plug-in Electric Vehicle Coordinating Council to direct regional implementation of state and national best practices. More general guidelines that apply to most regions considering PEV implementation plans include encouraging workplace and multi-unit dwelling charging, managing grid impacts by working with utilities to encourage charging during off-peak hours, increasing public agencies’ PEV fleets, and charging infrastructure on public property.

The BAAQMD PEV Readiness Plan reflects the extensive infrastructure already in place around the San Francisco Bay Area. In juxtaposition with the San Joaquin Valley plan, it offers an example for PEV planning after adoption has become more widespread. Like the SJVAPCD plan, the BAAQMD plan highlights a need for continued education and outreach to familiarize the local community with PEVs; increasing collaboration between local groups, public agencies and private businesses in deploying PEV infrastructure; offering incentives including a vehicle buyback program to increase PEV ownership among lower income households and increase fleet adoption; continued expansion of charging infrastructure; refined permitting and building codes; refined zoning and parking codes; education of maintenance personnel and other stakeholders; and decreased utility grid impacts by communicating with local utilities.

Thought they are in very different stages of PEV adoption and infrastructure deployment, both the SJVAPCD and BAAQMD regions offer PEV implementation plans that comprehensively address the regions’ present needs and position them to confront the broader challenges to increasing PEV adoption. By including both regionally specific and broad PEV deployment challenges, the San Joaquin and San Francisco PEV readiness plans offer insight on best practices for PEV implementation planning nationwide.

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DC Fast Charging Grant Available for North-South California Highway Corridors

August 3, 2015 in Funding, Infrastructure

The California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program announced a new grant last week for organizations interested in helping to expand direct current (DC) fast charging along California’s North-South highway corridors. Grant Funding Opportunity 15-601, “DC Fast Chargers for California’s North-South Corridor,” will offer up to $10 million for proposals that help to increase charging stations along I-5, Highway 101, and CA-99 from San Jose south. The final deadline to submit a funding application for GFO-15-601 is November 19th, and a pre-application workshop will be held by the California Energy Commission in Sacramento on August 7th. It can also be attended by web conference. Read more about the funding, application, and deadlines here, or visit the CEC Networking Hub on Linkedin for more resources on funding and partnership opportunities. See some of the other projects CEC has funded here.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) grant is meant to complete California’s portion of the West Coast Electric Highway, which extends from British Columbia to Baja California. Oregon completed its portion of the Electric Highway in March, having installed 44 DC chargers. Each charger cost about $100,000, and construction costs were subsidized with $910,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy and $3.34 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation. BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint have also recently announced a joint DC fast charge project with chargers at regular intervals along routes from both San Diego to Portland and Washington to Boston. It will add a total of about 100 privately funded DC fast chargers. The Electric Highway and the DC fast charge project should help alleviate electric vehicle “range anxiety” and increase consumer comfort with using electric vehicles for long distance trips as well as urban commutes.

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ZEV Readiness Part I: San Diego Action Plan for Electric Vehicles

July 31, 2015 in Charging Stations, Clean Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Infrastructure

Because 1.5 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) need to be on California roads by 2025– in keeping with Governor Brown’s 2012 executive order– and ZEVs will need to account for 15% of new cars sold, city and county agencies are starting to incorporate electric vehicle readiness programs in their long-term planning. The 2015 San Diego County action plan, SD Forward, includes a Regional Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Readiness Plan to evaluate current electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure in the county, barriers and means to improve electric vehicle adoption. As might be expected from a city that had the first large-scale electric vehicle car sharing program and continues to be a national leader on electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure expansion, the readiness plan includes numerous recommendations that other cities should consider as the ZEV market expands.

According to the San Diego Regional PEV Readiness Plan, San Diego already has over 7000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), as well as 500 public charging stations . To increase the adoption of ZEVs (PEVs that run only on electricity and have no tailpipe emissions), the Readiness Plan emphasizes the importance of increased public awareness of electric vehicles through outreach, education and a visible network of charging infrastructure. To expand infrastructure, the plan identifies a need to streamline permitting of charging stations so they can be more quickly and affordably adopted. In addition, charging should be available where drivers are likely to need the service: at their work sites, public shopping centers, and multi-unit homes. The plan highlights that almost three-quarters of PEV charging occurs at the owner’s residence, and 20% occurs at public charging  stations. Increased charging availability requires building and urban zoning codes that accommodate the needs of charging infrastructure. It also requires that employers and homeowners associations understand the benefits of providing charging stations, and that local communities and regional agencies communicate their charging concerns and coordinate implementation.

As the PEV Readiness Plan states, California could have up to 500,000 PEVs by 2020. Declining battery costs, continued consumer incentives, and more model options will make PEVs even more appealing for drivers considering their first alternative fuel vehicle purchase. Plus, the new direct current (DC) fast charge project just announced by BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint should go a long way to decrease range anxiety. The project will offer DC fast chargers at regular intervals along routes from both San Diego to Portland and Washington to Boston. DC fast chargers can add up to 80 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging, making these stops more comparable to those of conventional fueling. The joint project will also potentially stimulate construction of more DC fast charge transit corridors throughout the U.S.

SD Forward’s Regional Plug-in Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan offers useful guidance for community members and public officials to keep up with growing ZEV demand and to help California meet its ZEV adoption targets. While it acts as a resource for other communities, several other cities have also released ZEV adoption plans. Part II will explore best practices for PEV readiness in these other plans.

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Air Quality Part II: Crunching the Numbers for San Diego County

July 28, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Air, Electric Vehicles

The last segment looked at air quality in the U.S. and how zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) might contribute to reducing pollution and health risks. San Diego County is an early adopter of electric vehicles (EVs) and home to the country’s first large scale all-electric car sharing program. It has substantial electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The County’s Climate Action Plan also includes alternative fuel vehicles as part of its long-term mitigation strategy. Looking at EV adoption data for San Diego may shed light on how electric vehicles can improve air quality more broadly.

ZEV Adoption Goals

By 2025, San Diego will have 3.1 million registered vehicles. For its share of Governor Brown’s California target of 1.5 million ZEVs in 2025, the County should have 141,000 ZEVs, or 4.5% of its registered vehicles. This is an increase of 126,000 ZEVs from current levels, and requires a quick and sustained ramp-up over the next decade.

San Diego Air Quality

Today, over half of San Diego’s NOx emissions come from on-road vehicles, with heavy-duty vehicles causing about two-thirds. NOx emissions have significantly decreased over the last decade. On-road vehicles emitted over 115 tons/day of NOx in 2002 and just under 70 tons/day in 2012. The San Diego Air Pollution Control District aims to decrease emissions further, to 38 tons/day in 2020 and 30 tons/day in 2025. The County’s regional plan similarly aims to continue reducing carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs, contributors to ozone formation), and particulate matter through 2035.

Impact of Electric Vehicle Adoption on Air Quality

The California Air Resources Board’s transportation model helps California predict air quality as vehicles are replaced over time. The current model predicts a 4% adoption for the County of San Diego by 2025, 73% of the level needed to meet its share of the state goal. Including the additional 40,000 ZEVs in the model predicts a significant  decrease in carbon monoxide, NOx and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Carbon monoxide would decrease by about 25 tons/day and NOx and VOCs would decrease by about 2 tons/day for light-duty vehicle replacement. With air quality goals of about 15 tons/day reduction of NOx and 200 tons/day of VOCs, ZEVs offer a moderate but clear  contribution. And these improvements are achieved with ZEVs accounting for only 4.5% of all registered vehicles.

Looking Forward

Not all counties have the advantages of San Diego for adopting ZEVs. California emissions, transportation and urban planning policies help, as do popular support and early deployment of electric charging infrastructure. But more states are adopting transportation and emissions goals that align with ZEV adoption benefits. In addition, ZEV prices are decreasing, battery range is improving, and more models are being introduced.

The main appeal of electric vehicles remains their low  greenhouse gas emissions- as long as electricity is generated from low-carbon sources- low fuel cost, and contribution to U.S. energy security. Even with low levels of adoption, ZEVs can also help improve air quality, reduce peak day-time ozone, decrease health and economic impacts, help meet federal and state air quality standards, and improve visibility. With all of these benefits, hopefully California’s executive order calling for 1.5 million ZEVs will become reality rather than just an ambitious goal.

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Diesel Vehicle and Equipment Courses

July 23, 2015 in Calendar of Events, Clean Air, Diesel/Biodiesel, Fleets, Uncategorized

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) offers FREE diesel vehicle and equipment courses in August:

#511.2: Diesel Particulate Filter Operation and Maintenance

This course briefly discusses the production of diesel emissions and their health effects; diesel emission control technology; diesel particulate filter (DPF) construction and application; and the maintenance necessary for successful DPF operation.

August 25, 2015 at Hawthorne CAT: 

16945 Camino San Bernardo, San Diego, CA 92127

8:30AM – 12:00PM

#525: Compliance Overview: Truck & Bus Rule, Off-Road Regulation, and Portable Equipment

This course discusses the basics of compliance with CARB’s Truck and Bus Rule and Off-Road Vehicle Regulation, and the requirements for portable equipment (PERP and ATCM).

August 25, 2015 at Hawthorne CAT: 

16945 Camino San Bernardo, San Diego, CA 92127

1:00PM – 4:00PM

#520: How to Comply with CARB Diesel Regulations

This course reviews the inspection process, discusses the consequences of noncompliance, and explains how to comply with the following programs/regulations:

• Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspections, Truck and Bus Regulation, Periodic Smoke Inspection Program, Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas, Commercial Vehicle and School Bus Idling, and LSI Regulation

August 26, 2015 at Hawthorne CAT: 

16945 Camino San Bernardo, San Diego, CA 92127

8:30AM – 12:00PM

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Air Quality Part I: Beyond Greenhouse Gases: The Other Benefits of Electric Vehicle Adoption

July 23, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Air, Electric Vehicles

Electric  vehicles and other alternative fuels get lots of hype for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which run on gasoline and electricity, and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) which run only on electricity and have no tailpipe emissions, have grown rapidly over the past five years. Considering on-road vehicle emissions account for about 45% of greenhouse gas emissions in California and 30% nationwide, electric vehicle adoption is an important step to combat climate change. But alternative fuels have several other often overlooked benefits. Governor Brown’s executive order B-16-2012 sets a goal of 1.5 million ZEVs on California roads by 2025. What is needed to achieve this and what will the benefits be? In this two-part series, we will look at current air quality in the U.S. and air quality improvements expected through increased ZEV adoption, with a particular focus on San Diego County.

U.S. Air Quality: Past & Present

We tend to think air quality in the U.S. has improved since 1970. Photographs of Los Angeles and other urban centers during severe smog days in the 1950s are surprising reminders that visibility sometimes matched that often experienced in China today. Yet nearly half of Americans still live in regions that don’t achieve annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards for ozone. In addition, the U.S. still experiences higher rates of cancer along transportation corridors. Sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx)  and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which react in sunlight to form ground-level ozone, irritating lungs and decreasing lung capacity. Particulate matter is largely produced by motor vehicles, as well as industrial and agricultural activities. NOx and SOx are also primarily emitted by motor vehicles and industry. Our transportation choices play a central role in visibility and health.

Over the past decade, new vehicle emission standards have contributed  to a significant improvement in regional ambient air quality. Particulate matter, NOx, and other vehicle pollutants have also decreased. While many urban areas remain out of compliance with ozone standards, the EPA still plans to tighten standards this October. These standards should encourage continued industrial improvement and innovation. We are doing better, but we can do more.

What Role Can Plug-In Electric Vehicles Play?

Electric vehicles have gained popular support over the last five years as a reliable technology to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, EPA criteria pollutants, and fuel costs.  However, all electric vehicles are not equal; the electricity source matters. Electric vehicles powered by coal substantially increase greenhouse gases and air pollutants compared to conventional vehicles. But if the electricity mix is partially renewable energy, switching to electric vehicles can decrease greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutants, and health risks, and improve visibility.

A case study in Texas found that even with an electricity grid mix of 10% renewable energy – below the US average of 20% and a California average of 33%– PHEVs would decrease greenhouse gas emissions and the criteria pollutants NOx, CO and VOCs. They would also offer a modest reduction of carbon monoxide and particulate matter (PM). Compared to conventional vehicles, PEVs have been found to provide a greater reduction of NOx, VOCs and PM than compressed natural gas (CNG) or ethanol 85 (E85) alternative fuels. Vehicles fueled by CNG, E85, and electricity sourced from natural gas all have a lower health impact than conventional vehicles, but PEVs powered entirely by renewable energy are the clear health winner.

An important caveat for air quality is that while electric vehicle adoption can offer a limited to moderate improvement, it may also shift the peak timing and location of emissions. Most electric vehicle owners are encouraged to charge at night, when electricity demand and costs are lower. With widespread electric vehicle adoption, this would increase night-time ozone-forming pollutants while decreasing day-time levels. Similarly, coal-reliant states would experience a regional shift in mercury and sulfate deposition. Total emissions would be slightly reduced, but locations near coal plants  could experience an increased exposure.

San Diego County

Increased adoption of electric vehicles can improve air quality, visibility, health, and associated economic impacts. They can also help urban areas meet greenhouse gas and air quality requirements. Part II of this series will look at impacts specific to San Diego County, an early adopter of electric vehicles. The County’s Climate  Action Plan includes continued growth of ZEVs as part of its climate change mitigation strategy. How many ZEVs will the County need to contribute its fair share of California’s 2025 ZEV goal? What pollutant reductions might the County see with this level of adoption? Can it act as a model for other US cities, or does it have an advantage others can’t expect to attain?

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CARB Approves $373 Million in Clean Vehicle Grants

July 13, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Air, Clean Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Fleets, Funding, Hybrid Vehicles, Uncategorized


The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved $373 million in grants to support alternative fuel vehicles.  The Funding Plan for fiscal year 2015-2016 represents a $150 million increase over the previous fiscal year’s budget.  Some of the key highlights from the funding plan include:

  • $200 million for light-duty vehicle projects, including $163 million for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project
  • $167.5 million for heavy-duty vehicles and freight-equipment projects, including $59 million for advanced technology demonstration projects
  • $20 million for pilot deployment of zero-emission trucks and $45 million for pilot deployment of zero-emission buses

The Funding Plan dedicates 50% of low-carbon transportation funds to benefit disadvantaged communities. This includes pilot projects to help owners of older, polluting vehicles trade up for the cleanest vehicle technologies available.

For more information and the full news release, click here.

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