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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 .

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

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?

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.

San Diego County APCD Carl Moyer Grant Program Now Open

June 30, 2015 in Clean Air, Feature, Fleets, Funding, Uncategorized

SDAPCD Funding Available

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (District) is currently accepting applications for The Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Grant Program. This program incentivizes voluntary emission reductions from heavy-duty diesel engines.

The District will be accepting applications from Wednesday, June 24th through Friday, July 24th, 2015. Projects will be ranked according to their cost-effectiveness. A total of approximately $3 million will be available for eligible heavy-duty diesel emission reduction projects.

Applicants are encouraged to submit applications online at Staff at the District will be available to help applicants during the application period. Please contact the District at (858) 586-2600 or

For more information about the Carl Moyer Program or other incentives, visit the District’s webpage at

CalCAP EVCS Financing Program

June 23, 2015 in Charging Stations, Clean Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Fleets, Funding, Infrastructure, Uncategorized

Are You a Small Business Looking to Install EV Charging Stations?

California Pollution Control Financing Authority

The Electric Vehicle Charging Station (EVCS) Financing Program leverages public funds to attract private capital for expansion and deployment of EV infrastructure.  Loans enrolled in the EVCS Financing Program can be used for the design, development, purchase, and installation of electric vehicle charging stations at small business locations in California.

Funded by the California Energy Commission, the California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) may provide up to 100% coverage to lenders on certain loan defaults. Borrowers may be eligible to receive a rebate of 10-15% of the enrolled loan amount.

For more information visit the program website or



Free Webinar on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

June 15, 2015 in Calendar of Events, Charging Stations, Clean Mobility, Education, Electric Vehicles, Events, Fleets, Hybrid Vehicles, Infrastructure, Uncategorized

 Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure:
What Every Small Business Needs to Know

Tuesday, June 23 from 10:00AM – 11:15AM (PDT)

The Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative and CoolCalifornia invite you to join a FREE webinar about electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  Hear from industry experts on the following topics:

 1.  The state of the market: Who’s buying PEVs and where do they live?

2.  Resources available to assess your “PEV readiness”

3.  The business benefits of offering car charging

4.  Costs and financing for charger installation

5.  Case studies and real-life examples

Register today, to learn how PEV charging can attract customers, retain employees and lower your carbon footprint!

Fleet Incentives for Clean Vehicles – FREE Webinar!

June 10, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Calendar of Events, Clean Mobility, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Education, Electric Vehicles, Events, Fleets, Funding, Hydrogen, Uncategorized


Free Webinar for California Fleet Operators

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

10:00AM – 11:30AM (PDT)

Presentation – 1 hour

Q&A – 30 min.

The Advanced Transportation Center of Southern California invites fleet and procurement staff to attend a free webinar on statewide clean vehicle incentives.  At this webinar, speakers will share the latest information on alternative fuel vehicle incentive programs available to fleets operating in California. The agenda includes:

  • Kevin Wood, Project Manager, Center for Sustainable Energy, will discuss the Advanced Transportation Center and provide a brief introduction to clean vehicle technology.
  • Randy Wilde, Project Associate, Center for Sustainable Energy, will explain ARB’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) and Public Fleet Pilot Project incentive programs.
  • Ted Bloch-Rubin, Associate Project Manager, CALSTART, will discuss the funding available from the Hybrid Truck & Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP).
  • Craig Rindt, Assistant Director for Research Coordination, Institute of Transportation Studies (UC Irvine), will provide an update on the development of the new California Energy Commission-funded Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project

Register today!

For more information, email Randy Wilde or call (858) 634-4733.

Statewide School Bus Retrofit Program

June 8, 2015 in Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Clean Mobility, Diesel/Biodiesel, Fleets, Funding, Uncategorized

SDAPCD Funding Available

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has announced the launch of the Statewide School Bus Retrofit Program.  The program will assist California school districts in complying with the Air Resources Board’s In-Use Truck and Bus Regulation.

Who: Eligible participants are public school districts, Joint Power Authorities, and private transportation agencies that provide student transportation services under contract to public school districts.

What: The program will provide incentive funds to retrofit school buses with a 1987 or newer engine model year with an ARB-verified Level-3 diesel emissions control strategy.

When: All applications must be submitted to the District’s Central Region Office in Fresno no later than 5:00 PM on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

For more information visit the program website or contact:

Deu Moua at or by phone at (559) 230-5800.

EV Roadmap 8 Conference

June 1, 2015 in Calendar of Events, Education, Electric Vehicles, Events


When: July 29-30, 2015

What: EV Roadmap 8 Conference

Where: World Trade Center – Portland, OR

Mark your calendars! July 29-30 is the EV Roadmap 8 Conference in Portland, OR.  You won’t have a better opportunity this year to learn about the entire electric vehicle “ecosystem” of stakeholders, from utilities and local governments to vehicle OEMs, charging providers, industry groups, and drivers.

Register today, to reserve your spot at the conference!