California law promotes green fleets, fights air pollution
Air pollution is a source of health, environmental and economic problems in California. To combat the negatives, a new law restores the state’s cost-effective incentives to speed up deployment of green vehicles.
California is home to some of the nation’s worst air pollution problems, according to a fact sheet released in association with AB 8, the new law. It is estimated pollution from passenger cars alone costs the state $15 billion annually in health and other society damages including crop degradation and building wear and tear.
In response, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 8 into law Sept. 28. The measure continues California’s clean vehicle and fuel incentives through 2024, providing more than $2 billion to help fleets purchase clean-burning, low-emission vehicles, according to Heavy Duty Trucking magazine.
Funding for the measure is provided by dedicated vehicle, tire, vessel and smog abatement fees and does not require general fund monies, according to the fact sheet. AB 8 is the largest financial commitment made by a state to clean up its transportation sector, according to Heavy Duty Trucking.
Since 2007, AB 8 funds have deployed over 29,000 advanced clean and alternative fuel vehicles and equipment and installed 6,200 electric vehicle charge points in addition to expanding hydrogen, natural gas and other alternative fuel infrastructure. Provisions in the law have also seen the training of over 5,700 workers and investment of $54 million in state manufacturing facilities, according to the fact sheet.
Green Car Congress reports the bill will help the state promote not only electric vehicles, but other low emission cars, trucks, buses and construction equipment, like those that run on natural gas or propane.
The renewed measure also includes a provision to fund at least 100 more hydrogen stations, to further promote alternative fuel vehicles. “One of the biggest obstacles to introducing fuel cell electric vehicles [FCEVs] was the lack of fueling certainty,” Professor Dan Sperling, founder and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, told the California Fuel Cell Partnership. “No more. The passage of AB 8 sends a clear signal to automakers, consumers and others that California will launch a market for FCEVs.”
More than 100 business, civic and environmental organizations supported the restoration of AB 8, according to Heavy Duty Trucking. Among these organizations were the California Trucking Association, the Environmental Defense Fund and the California Farm Bureau.