Green Technology

California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program Will Transition To Helping Low-Income Residents

SACRAMENTO — The California Air Resources Board today announced that it will transition its existing Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) program to a new program that helps low- and middle-income Californians access zero-emission vehicles.

In late 2023, a new program will expand statewide access to the existing Clean Cars 4 All program that gives residents up to $12,000 to scrap and replace older, polluting cars with cleaner alternatives, or will offer additional assistance through up to $7,500 in vehicle purchase grants for car buyers not scrapping an older vehicle, in addition to affordable financing options. The existing CVRP program will continue to accept applications while funding remains available. Once funding has been exhausted, the program will close to new applications, and updated information will be available on the CVRP website.

California, through its innovative policies and incentive programs, helped jumpstart the clean vehicle transformation that is underway, and the market has made it clear that zero emissions is the future,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, CARB’s Executive Officer. “A clean air future is only possible if every Californian can access clean transportation options, and equity will continue to be a guiding priority for our future efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.”

The CVRP program has been highly successful:

  • Since its launch in 2010, the CVRP program has issued half a million rebates, totaling $1.2 billion, that have helped Californians switch to cleaner vehicles.
  • In its inception, the program was designed to encourage the early adoption of emerging technology, and its goal was to accomplish a 16% market share for clean vehicles.
  • Now, California has 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles in use — two years ahead of schedule — and 1 out of 4 cars sold are clean vehicles.
  • California is the nation’s top market for clean vehicles, and zero-emissions vehicles are becoming one of the state’s top exports.
  • It is estimated that the rebate helped avoid 9.9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions to date.
  • CARB has provided $430 million in assistance to low- and middle-income Californians, which includes assistance to residents in areas that are designated as disadvantaged communities and low-income communities.

In recent months, applications for the CVRP program have increased, hitting a record 14,000 applications in July. The success of the program highlights the opportunity to transition to ensuring that no Californian is left behind the transition to zero-emissions transportation. The state’s Clean Cars 4 All program, which focuses on low-income Californians, remains open in its current form, which targets the state’s five largest regional air districts. The program currently offers up to $9,500 toward a new clean vehicle or as much as $7,500 toward transit or other shared mobility options. Consumers can visit Access Clean California to explore the various incentives available for clean transportation.

The CVRP program is part of California Climate Investments, which funds the program with auction proceeds from the state’s Cap-and-Trade program. The Center for Sustainable Energy has administered the CVRP since its inception in 2009. The average rebate provided has been about $2,500.

“CVRP incentives encouraged consumers to try out an EV to determine if it was more affordable to operate and more fun to drive – and EVs overwhelmingly met their expectations,” said Lawrence Goldenhersh, president of the Center for Sustainable Energy. “CVRP played a material role in accelerating the consumer’s embrace of EV passenger vehicles in California, where one in four new light-duty vehicles purchased is an EV, and across the U.S. The light-duty EV market is now solidly established. What’s next is to expand access to more low-income consumers and those in communities impacted by air pollution from legacy fossil fuel vehicles.”

Republished from California Air Resources Board.


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