PASADENA, CA — Flanked by supporters, solar panels and clean cars made by California companies, Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) urged Governor Jerry Brown to sign his legislation making cleaner, greener car ownership a more affordable, practical choice for Californians. “We must encourage Californians to buy cars with a smaller impact on our environment,” said Blumenfield.
“This shift requires us to think beyond petroleum and transition towards cleaner cars. By signing these bills, the governor can reward green car choices and solidify California’s place as the clean technology capital of the world.” Transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and smog. With 5.8 million cars and 7.3 million total vehicles overall registered in Los Angeles County, clean air remains Southern California’s most basic environmental challenge. To jumpstart emissions reductions, Blumenfield’s legislation provides new consumer incentives to purchase clean cars, such as plug-in hybrids and compressed natural gas cars, and zero emission vehicles such as electric and hydrogen cars.
Gathering a consortium of green technology companies called CALSTART, environmentalists, clean air advocates and California-based clean car companies joined Blumenfield in urging the governor’s support for the following bills. • AB 2405 allows single-occupant, clean and zero emission vehicles with a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker free access to carpool lanes that are converted to toll roads. Toll road projects are currently underway in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego regions. These conversions undermine the sticker program, which helped hybrid vehicles become established. A list of vehicles eligible for the sticker program is available online at www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/carpool/carpool.htm. • AB 2502 allows car dealers to include the cost of accelerated electric vehicle charging stations – including installation at the consumer’s home – within electric vehicle purchase financing. Current law does not allow for this practice, which amounts to a barrier for some consumers since this equipment can fully recharge an electric vehicle overnight and typically costs a few thousand dollars. • AB 2853 requires the state to develop a plan for equipping state-owned parking lots and park- andride lots with electric vehicle chargers and alternative fuel infrastructure.
To help accomplish that, the bill allows state parking lots to contract with private vendors to provide charging stations. It also requires the creation of other incentives, such as preferential and discounted parking, for clean and zero emission vehicles at state-owned parking locations. “To meet our emission targets, we need to see the clean fuel vehicle market grow quickly,” said Jamie Hall, Policy Director at CALSTART. “Assemblyman Blumenfield’s trio of bills will help build market demand and increase the value of owning cleaner cars into the future.” Our region has the worst air quality in the nation,” said Matt Miyasato, Assistant Deputy Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District. “We’ve made a lot of progress but won’t put this problem behind us until a lot more of us drive cleaner, greener cars.” Clean cars produce 34% less greenhouse gas emissions and 75% less smog. California is working to have zero-emission or plug-in hybrid cars account for 15% of new vehicles sold each year by 2025. If achieved, it is expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. “For more than 100 years, we have concentrated our efforts on developing internal combustion engine vehicles and an infrastructure to power them,” said K. Forrest Beanum, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and External Affairs at CODA Automotive. “The package of bills under consideration will create powerful, cost-effective incentives that drive demand for clean vehicles, and in turn, drive private investment and economic vitality throughout the state. We are pleased to operate in a state where our leaders recognize transformational opportunities and take decisive action.” “California is home to many established green technology firms in automotive, computer, telecommunications and solar industries,” said David Mazaika, Executive Director at Quantum Technologies.
“California has led the country in clean vehicles, including electric and hybrid vehicles, due to California’s unique combination of highly innovative people, strong private and government support, and a dedication to improving our environment.” California is the nation’s largest market for cars, home to 22.2 million cars and 31.8 million total vehicles overall. According to the California New Car Dealers Association, car sales are up in California by 27.4% from last year. The top-selling car is a hybrid, the Toyota Prius. “California must reduce tailpipe pollution and its origins in our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Jim Stewart, PhD, Co-chair of Sierra Club California’s Energy-Climate Committee. “We have seen much progress and the result has been cleaner air. But there is more to be done to green transportation choices, and the proposed incentives for alternatively fueled vehicles will help.” Further information about each bill is available at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.