September 18, 2013
by Max Baumhefner
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California Helps Drivers Plug-in and Replace Clunkers with Cleaner Cars

Max Baumhefner, Attorney, Clean Vehicles & Fuels, San Francisco

To transform the vehicle fleet, you need to work on both ends — accelerating the purchase of cleaner new vehicles and the retirement of old clunkers. The California legislature is sending a package of bills to Governor Brown’s desk that does just that. Taken as a whole, these policies will ensure Californians at all income levels enjoy the environmental, public health, and financial benefits of cleaner, more efficient vehicles.

Assembly Bill 8, authored by Henry Perea (a companion to Senate Bill 11, authored by Fran Pavley) extends funding for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which, amongst other things, provides rebates for new low and zero emission light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles. The bill was co-sponsored by the American Lung Association in California, CALSTART, and the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association, and was supported by a broad-based coalition including NRDC. Senate Bill 359, authored by Ellen Corbett, provides supplementary funding needed to meet growing market demand for the same rebate programs. Together, these bills will ensure California remains the nation’s largest market for plug-in electric vehicles, with almost all of the nation’s medium and heavy duty electric trucks and about a third of the nation’s 130,000 modern plug-in cars (see green line below).

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Meanwhile, Senator Corbett’s “Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Open Access Act” (Senate Bill 454) will help ensure the Californian’s driving those vehicles will have a place to plug them in when they’re not enjoying the convenience of re-fueling at home at a price that’s equivalent to dollar-a-gallon gasoline.  Likewise, Marc Levine’s Assembly Bill 1092 will help improve access to charging stations for drivers who live in multi-family buildings. 

Transforming the state’s vehicle market isn’t just about getting more clean cars off dealers lots, but also about taking the dirtiest vehicles off the streets. Senate Bill 459, authored by Fran Pavley, aims to reform the state’s Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program, which provides drivers with cash incentives to retire older, higher polluting vehicles and replace them with cleaner cars and trucks. It’s estimated that three-quarters of vehicular pollution in the state comes from one quarter of the cars and trucks on the road.  While the state has had some success in helping people retire those older vehicles, the portion of the program which provides vouchers for consumers to replace those clunkers with cleaner vehicles has yet to be successfully implemented.

Senate Bill 459 will reform the program to help Californians, especially lower income Californians, both retire their old clunkers and replace them with more efficient cars and trucks. This will not only clean our air, but help families that spend a disproportionate share of household income on transportation expenses.  Replacing old vehicles with even moderately more efficient vehicles can provide significant savings; upgrading to a 25 mile per gallon vehicle from a 15 mile per gallon vehicle would save a California driver approximately $1,600 every year.

It’s worth noting that about 95 percent of vehicle parts are recycled, so the package of policies described above will literally be turning old clunkers into cleaner, safer new cars and trucks, accelerating the transformation of the vehicle fleet, cleaning our air, and easing pain at the pump.

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May 9, 2013
by Simon Mui
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Scientific Review Finds Fatal Flaws with Oil Industry Study of AB32

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
An independent panel of scientific experts today reaffirmed that an oil industry association’s study of California’s landmark clean energy law (AB32), in particul… Continue reading

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February 1, 2013
by Simon Mui
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LCFS "Red Flags" Don’t Hold Up Under Scrutiny

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
As a scientist working on clean fuel policies, I spend much of my time working to protect our environment, health, and economy from the negative, unintended consequences from… Continue reading

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June 20, 2012
by Simon Mui
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At It Again: Flawed Oil Industry Study Undermines California’s Efforts to Provide More Clean Fuel Choices and Cut Our Oil Dependence

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
The best way to create good American jobs, cut our energy costs, and protect our national security is to decrease our oil dependency. California’s Low Carbon … Continue reading

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May 23, 2012
by Simon Mui
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Four Facts on Gasoline Prices for the Memorial Day Weekend

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
Over thirty million Americans will be on the road this Memorial Day holiday weekend heading to vacation with family and friends according to a survey produced by the automobi… Continue reading

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April 26, 2012
by Simon Mui
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Industry’s Exorbitant Cost Claims about Renewable Fuels Don’t Hold Water

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which requires oil companies to supply the market with cleaner, alternative fuels, had a big win on Monday when the Ninth … Continue reading

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February 23, 2012
by Simon Mui
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Canada’s Pro-Oil Lobbying Efforts: On the Wrong Side of History

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
The European Union failed to achieve a decisive vote today on its Fuels Quality Directive and will need to revisit the issue in June of this yea… Continue reading

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December 16, 2011
by Simon Mui
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Oil Industry Attacks on Alternative Fuel Costs Just Don’t Hold Up

Simon Mui, Scientist, Clean Vehicles and Fuels, San Francisco
In the latest salvo by the oil industry to weaken California’s low carbon fuel standard, (LCFS) the Western States Petroleum Association released a draft report, author… Continue reading

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November 11, 2011
by Peter Lehner
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With Keystone XL Pipeline Stalled, America Can Focus on Real Energy Solutions that Create Real Jobs

Peter Lehner, Executive Director, New York City
On Thursday the State Department and the President announced they will conduct a new review of the Keystone XL pipeline. More time is needed to examine the pipeline’s impact on … Continue reading

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January 19, 2011
by Barbara Finamore
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Energizing efficiency in the U.S.-China relationship

Yesterday, before Chinese President Hu Jintao’s plane even hit the tarmac, senior energy experts from both countries gathered to inaugurate the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC), the latest in a series of initiatives building on the … Continue reading

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