California Laws and Incentives
Listed below are the summaries of all current California laws, incentives, regulations, funding opportunities, and other initiatives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, advanced technologies, or air quality. You can go directly to summaries of:
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Purchase Vouchers
Through the Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), the California Air Resources Board provides vouchers to eligible fleets to reduce the incremental cost of qualified medium- and heavy-duty HEVs and ZEVs at the time of purchase. Vouchers are available on a first-come, first-served basis and range from $6,000 to $45,000. Only fleets that operate vehicles in California are eligible. Refer to the HVIP website for a list of qualified vehicles and other requirements.
Plug-In Hybrid and Zero Emission Light-Duty Vehicle Rebates
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) offers rebates for the purchase or lease of qualified vehicles. The rebates offer up to $2,500 for light-duty zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved or certified. The rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals, business owners, and government entities in California that purchase or lease new eligible vehicles. Manufacturers must apply to ARB to have their vehicles included in CVRP. Refer to the CVRP website for a list of eligible vehicles and other requirements. ARB determines annual funding amounts for CVRP, which is expected to be effective through 2015.
Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Incentives
The California Energy Commission (CEC) administers the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (Program) to provide financial incentives for businesses, vehicle and technology manufacturers, workforce training partners, fleet owners, consumers, and academic institutions with the goal of developing and deploying alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies. The CEC must prepare and adopt an annual Investment Plan for the Program to establish funding priorities and opportunities that reflect program goals and to describe how program funding will be used to complement other public and private investments. Funded projects include:
- Commercial alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) demonstrations and deployment;
- Alternative and renewable fuel production;
- Research and development of alternative and renewable fuels and innovative technologies;
- AFV manufacturing;
- Workforce training; and
- Public education, outreach, and promotion.
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Exemption
Compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) meeting specified California and federal emissions standards and affixed with a California Department of Motor Vehicles Clean Air Vehicle sticker may use HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available to an unlimited number of qualifying CNG, hydrogen, and electric vehicles. Green Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for the first 40,000 applicants that purchase or lease a qualified PHEV. Both stickers will expire January 1, 2015. These vehicles are also exempt from toll charges imposed on HOT lanes, unless prohibited by federal law. For more information, see the California Air Resources Board Carpool Lane Use Stickers website. (Reference Assembly Bill 2405, 2012, and California Vehicle Code 5205.5 and 21655.9)
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Career Training
The Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Job Training, Career Technical Education, and Dropout Prevention Program provides grant funding to school districts for occupational training programs that focus on employment in clean technology businesses or renewable energy businesses, such as clean vehicle technologies, or cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, biomass power, green waste, and fuel cell production. (Reference Senate Bill X1 1, 2011, and California Education Code 54690-54699)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Grants
The Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Program provides funding for projects that reduce air pollution from on- and off-road vehicles. Eligible projects include purchasing AFVs and developing alternative fueling infrastructure. Contact local air districts for more information about available grant funding and distribution from the Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Program. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44220 (b))
Emissions Reductions Grants
The Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program provides incentives to cover the incremental cost of purchasing engines and equipment that are cleaner than required by law. Eligible projects include heavy-duty fleet modernization, light-duty vehicle replacements and retrofits, idle reduction technology, and off-road vehicle and equipment purchases. The Carl Moyer Program provides funds for significant near-term reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions, reactive organic gases, and particulate matter emissions. Funding is available through January 1, 2015. Contact local air districts for more information about grant funding availability and distribution. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44280, 44229, and 44299))
Point of Contact
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)
Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions Reduction Grants
The Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program (Program) provides funding for projects that reduce emissions from freight movement in the state, including heavy-duty truck replacement, repower, or retrofit; and truck stop electrification infrastructure development. Contact the Program or local air districts for more information about funding availability and distribution. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 39625-39627.5)
Low Emissions School Bus Grants
The Lower-Emission School Bus Program (Program) provides grant funding for the replacement of older school buses and for the purchase of air pollution control equipment for in-use buses. The California Air Resources Board must verify that the air pollution control devices reduce particulate matter emissions by at least 85% for each retrofitted school bus. Public school districts in California that own their buses are eligible to receive funding. Private school transportation providers that contract with public school districts in California to provide transportation services are also eligible to receive funding for the retrofit of in-use buses. New buses purchased to replace older buses may be fueled with diesel or an alternative fuel, provided that the required emissions standards specified in the current guidelines for the Program are met. Funds are also available for replacing on-board natural gas tanks on older school buses and for updating deteriorating natural gas fueling infrastructure. Commercially available hybrid electric school buses may be eligible for partial funding. Contact local air districts for more information about grant funding availability and distribution from the Program. (Reference Assembly Bill 462, 2011; Senate Bill 570, 2011; and California Health and Safety Code 41081 and 44099))
Point of Contact
Air Pollution Specialist, Lower-Emission School Bus Program
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (916) 322-6913
Fax: (916) 322-3923
Advanced Transportation Financing
The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) provides financing for property used to develop and commercialize advanced transportation technologies that reduce pollution and energy use and promote economic development. Eligible advanced transportation technologies include electric vehicles, fuel cells, and ultra low emission vehicles. CAEATFA may provide financial incentives in the form of sales and use tax exclusions on qualified property. See the CAEATFA website for information about current incentives. (Reference California Public Resources Code 26000-26017)
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Electricity Tax Exemption for Transit Use
CNG and electricity that local agencies or public transit operators use as motor vehicle fuel to operate public transit services is exempt from applicable user taxes a county imposes. (Reference Senate Bill 1257, 2012 and California Revenue and Taxation Code 7284.2)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Incentive - Bay Area
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) PEV Home Charger Deployment Program (Program) provides incentives for up to 2,750 residents who purchase a new plug-in electric vehicle and install Level 2 EVSE from qualifying vendors. Incentive amounts vary and the funds are administered through BAAQMD partner vendors on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, see the Program website.
Vehicle Emissions Reduction Grants - Sacramento
The Sacramento Emergency Clean Air and Transportation Program provides grants to offset the costs of projects that reduce on-road emissions within the Sacramento federal ozone nonattainment area. Eligible projects include upgrades and exchanges of heavy-duty diesel vehicles with 2002 or older engines. Other advanced technology implementation projects may also qualify. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44299.50-44299.55)
Point of Contact
Associate Air Quality Engineer
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Phone: (916) 874-4892
Fax: (916) 874-4899
Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) Home Fueling Infrastructure Incentive - South Coast
South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) residents may be eligible for up to $2,000 toward the purchase and installation of a qualified Phill NGV home fueling appliance. SCAQMD and the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee provide funding for the program, which will continue until funds have been exhausted. For more information, refer to the SCAQMD website.
Employer Invested Emissions Reduction Funding - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) administers the Air Quality Investment Program (AQIP). The AQIP provides funding to allow employers within SCAQMD's jurisdiction to make annual investments into an administered fund to meet employers' emissions reduction targets. The revenues collected are used to fund alternative mobile source emissions/trip reduction programs, including alternative fuel vehicle projects, on an on-going basis. Programs such as low emission, alternative fuel, or zero emission vehicle procurement, and old vehicle scrapping may be considered for funding. Current requests for proposals and funding opportunities are listed on the AQIP website.
Technology Advancement Funding - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District's Clean Fuels Program provides funding for research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects that are expected to help accelerate the commercialization of advanced low emission transportation technologies. Eligible projects include powertrains and energy storage/conversion devices (e.g., fuel cells and batteries), and implementation of clean fuels (e.g., natural gas, propane, and hydrogen), including the necessary infrastructure. Projects are selected via specific requests for proposals on an as-needed basis or through unsolicited proposals. Approximately $10 million in funding is available annually with expected cost-share from other project partners and stakeholders.
Point of Contact
Technology Demonstration Manager
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Phone: (909) 396-2273
Fax: (909) 396-3252
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Rebate - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Drive Clean! Rebate Program (Program), which provides rebates for the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles, including qualified natural gas and plug-in electric vehicles. The program offers rebates of up to $3,000, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis for residents and businesses located in the SJVAPCD that purchase a qualified vehicle on or after March 15, 2012. For a list of eligible vehicles and other requirements, refer to the Program website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Incentives - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District administers the Public Benefit Grant Program, which provides funding to cities, counties, special districts (such as water districts and irrigation districts), and public educational institutions for the purchase of new AFVs, including electric, natural gas, and propane vehicles, as well as hybrid electric vehicles. The maximum grant amount allowed per vehicle is $20,000, with a limit of $100,000 per agency per year. Projects are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. As of October 2012, incentives for electric vehicle supply equipment and other alternative fueling infrastructure projects are under development.
Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicle Vouchers - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers two voucher incentive programs to reduce vehicle emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks. The Voucher Incentive Program (VIP) provides funding for fleets with ten or fewer trucks to replace or retrofit heavy-duty diesel trucks. The Truck Voucher Program (TVP) provides funding for small businesses to retrofit or replace existing heavy-duty trucks. Qualified businesses must be independently owned and operated, be located in California, have fewer than 100 employees, and have an annual gross income of $14 million or less during the year of their application. Vouchers funded under these programs must achieve emissions reductions beyond those required by law or regulation. Applications for the programs can be obtained and submitted at an SJVAPCD certified dealership or retrofit installer. Applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funding for the program is exhausted. Applicants must be awarded a voucher from the SJVAPCD prior to ordering and/or purchasing the replacement truck or equipment. For more information on program requirements, refer to the SJVAPCD website.
Low Emission Vehicle Incentives and Technical Training - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the REMOVE II program, which provides incentives for cost-effective projects that result in motor vehicle emissions reductions and long-term impacts on air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. As of October 2012, REMOVE II is providing funding for vanpool agencies that reduce or replace single occupant vehicle commutes in the San Joaquin Valley. To participate, vanpool agencies must submit an application to SJVAPCD and sign a contract to become a Vanpool Voucher Incentive Program partner. REMOVE II also includes an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Mechanic Training Component that provides incentives to educate personnel on the mechanics, operation safety, and maintenance of AFVs, fueling stations, and tools involved in the implementation of alternative fuel technologies.
Air Quality Improvement Program Funding - Ventura County
The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District offers the Clean Air Fund, which provides grants for qualified air quality improvement projects located in Ventura County. The Clean Air Fund Advisory Committee is interested in projects that will have significant emissions reduction impacts or support innovative air pollution reduction technologies.
Propane Vehicle Rebates - Western Propane Gas Association (WPGA)
The WPGA offers rebates of $1,000 for the purchase of a new propane vehicle or the conversion of an existing vehicle to operate on propane. In addition, WPGA offers rebates for 20% of the purchase or conversion price of a new propane commercial mower, up to $2,500. Rebates are available through August 31, 2013, or when program funds are exhausted. For more information, refer to the WPGA New Propane Vehicle and Commercial Mower Rebate Programs website.
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate - LADWP
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) provides rebates of up to $2,000 to residential customers who purchase or lease a new electric vehicle and install Level 2 EVSE with a separate time-of-use meter at their home. Customers living in apartment buildings or condominiums may also qualify for the rebate so long as they have received permission from the property owner and/or homeowner association. Rebates are available to the first 1,000 approved customers. The program will expire on June 30, 2013, when the program goals are met, or when the funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first. For program guidelines and application materials, see the Charger Installation Rebate website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Insurance Discount
Farmers Insurance provides a discount of up to 10% on all major insurance coverage for HEV and AFV owners. To qualify, the automobile must be designed to use a dedicated alternative fuel as defined in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, or a HEV. A complete vehicle identification number is required to validate vehicle eligibility.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - SMUD
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers a reduced time-of-use rate option to residential customers who own a licensed passenger PEV. For more information, see the SMUD PEV Rates website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - LADWP
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers a $0.025 per kilowatt discount for electricity used to charge PEVs during off-peak times. The discount is only applicable to the first 500 kilowatt-hours used per month. Proof of vehicle registration is required. LADWP also provides guidance on PEV charging infrastructure to help customers determine applications for PEVs in their fleet operations, PEV maintenance services, and training. For more information, see the LADWP Electric Vehicle Incentives website.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - SCE
Southern California Edison (SCE) offers a discounted rate to customers for electricity used to charge PEVs. Two rate schedules are available for PEV charging during on- and off-peak hours. For more information, see the SCE Electric Vehicle Residential Rates website.
Clean Vehicle Electricity and Natural Gas Rate Reduction - PG&E
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) offers a discounted Experimental Residential Time-of-Use rate for electricity used for plug-in electric vehicle charging and natural gas vehicle (NGV) home fueling appliances. Special rates are also available for natural gas that residential customers compress using home fueling appliances. For more information, see the PG&E EV Rate Options and NGV Rates websites.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Natural Gas Infrastructure Charging Rate Reduction - SDG&E
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers lower rates to customers for electricity used to charge PEVs. SDG&E's PEV Time-of-Use rates are available in two variations: EV-TOU-2 bills home and vehicle electricity use on a single meter; and EV-TOU bills vehicle electricity use separately, requiring the installation of a second meter. Lower rates are also available to customers who own a natural gas vehicle and use a qualified compressed natural gas fueling appliance at home. For more information about PEV Time-of-Use rates, see the SDG&E EV Rates website.
Natural Gas Rate Reduction - SoCalGas
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) offers natural gas at discounted rates to customers fueling natural gas vehicles (NGVs). Schedule G-NGVR, Natural Gas Service for Home Refueling of Motor Vehicles, is available to residential customers; G-NGV, Natural Gas Service for Motor Vehicles, is available to commercial customers. For more information, see the SoCalGas NGVs website.
Biofuel Volume Rebate Program - Propel Fuels
Propel Fuels offers a rebate to qualified fleet customers for monthly purchases of more than 500 gallons of biodiesel blends and E85. Fleet customers must purchase the fuel directly from Propel public retail locations using the Propel CleanDrive Wright Express fleet card. The program offers a rebate of $0.03 per gallon for purchases of less than 1,000 gallons of biofuel per month, and $.05 per gallon for purchases of 1,000 gallons or more per month. The rebate is applied at the end of each monthly billing cycle.
Laws and Regulations
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Parking Incentive Programs
The California Department of General Services (DGS) and California Department of Transportation (DOT) must develop and implement AFV parking incentive programs in public parking facilities operated by DGS with 50 or more parking spaces and park-and-ride lots owned and operated by DOT. The incentives must provide meaningful and tangible benefits to drivers, such as preferential spaces, reduced fees, and fueling infrastructure. Fueling infrastructure built at park-and-ride lots is not subject to restricted use by those using bicycles, public transit, or ridesharing. (Reference Assembly Bill 2583, 2012; California Public Resources Code 25722.9; and California Vehicle Code 22518)
The California Public Utility Commission (Commission) must adopt policies and programs to promote in-state production and distribution of biomethane to meet energy and transportation needs. (Reference Assembly Bill 1900, 2012, and California Public Utilities Code 399.24)
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Parking Regulation
An individual may not stop, stand, or park a motor vehicle, or otherwise block access to parking, in a stall or space designated for the exclusive purpose of charging a PEV unless the vehicle displays a valid state-issued zero emission vehicle (ZEV) decal and is connected for electric charging purposes. For the ZEV decal application, see the California Department of Motor Vehicles ZEV Parking Decal Application website. (Reference California Vehicle Code 22511)
Public Utility Definition
A corporation or individual that owns, controls, operates, or manages a facility that supplies electricity to the public exclusively to charge light-duty battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or compressed natural gas to fuel natural gas vehicles, is not defined as a public utility. (Reference California Public Utilities Code 216)
State Agency Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation
California state agencies must actively identify and pursue opportunities to install EVSE, and accommodate future EVSE demand, at state employee parking facilities in new and existing agency buildings. (Reference Executive Order B-18-12, 2012)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Policies for Multi-Unit Dwellings
A common interest development, including a community apartment, condominium, and cooperative development, may not prohibit or restrict the installation or use of EVSE in a homeowner's designated parking space. These entities may put reasonable restrictions on EVSE, but the policies may not significantly increase the cost of the EVSE or significantly decrease its efficiency or performance. If installation in the homeowner's designated parking space is not possible, with authorization, the homeowner may add EVSE in a common area for their use. The homeowner must obtain appropriate approvals from the common interest development association and agree in writing to comply with applicable architectural standards, engage a licensed installation contractor, provide a certificate of insurance, and pay for the electricity usage associated with the EVSE. Any application for approval should be processed by the common interest development association without willful avoidance or delay. The homeowner and each successive homeowner of the parking space equipped with EVSE is responsible for the cost of the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the station, as well as any resulting damage to the EVSE or surrounding area. The homeowner must also maintain a $1 million umbrella liability coverage policy and name the common interest development as an additional insured entity under the policy. If EVSE is installed in a common area for use by all members of the association, the common interest development must develop terms for use of the EVSE. (Reference Senate Bill 880, 2012, and California Civil Code 1353.9)
Access to Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Registration Records
The California Department of Motor Vehicles may disclose to an electrical corporation or local publicly owned utility a PEV owner's address and vehicle type if the information is used exclusively to identify where the PEV is registered. (Reference California Vehicle Code 1808.23)
Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax Feasibility Evaluation
To facilitate a reliable and steady funding mechanism for maintaining and improving surface transportation infrastructure, the California Legislature requests the President and Congress to consider and enact legislation to conduct a feasibility study of the collection process for a transportation revenue source based on vehicle miles traveled. (Reference Assembly Joint Resolution 5, 2011)
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Infrastructure Information Resource
The California Energy Commission, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, must develop and maintain a website containing specific links to electrical corporations, local publicly owned electric utilities, and other websites that contain information specific to PEVs, including the following:
- Resources to help consumers determine if their residences will require utility service upgrades to accommodate PEVs;
- Basic charging circuit requirements;
- Utility rate options; and
- Load management techniques.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Evaluation
The California Public Utilities Commission (Commission), in consultation with the California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, electrical corporations, and the motor vehicle industry, must evaluate policies to develop infrastructure sufficient to overcome barriers to the widespread deployment and use of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The Commission must adopt rules to address the following:
- The impacts on electrical infrastructure and any infrastructure upgrades necessary for widespread use of PEVs, including the role and development of public charging infrastructure;
- The impact of PEVs on grid stability and the integration of renewable energy resources;
- The technological advances necessary to ensure the widespread use of PEVs and what role the state should take to support the development of this technology;
- The existing code and permit requirements that will impact the widespread use of PEVs and any recommended changes to existing policies that may be barriers to the widespread use of PEVs;
- The role the state should take to ensure that technologies employed in PEVs work harmoniously and across service territories; and
- The impact of widespread use of PEVs on achieving the state's greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and renewables portfolio standard program, and what steps should be taken to address the possibility of shifting emissions reductions responsibilities from the transportation sector to the electrical industry.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Promotion Plan
All state agencies must support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of ZEVs in California. In particular, the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and other relevant state agencies must work with the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative and the California Fuel Cell Partnership to establish benchmarks to achieve targets for ZEV commercialization. These targets include:
- By 2015, all major metropolitan areas in California will be able to accommodate ZEVs and have infrastructure plans and streamlined permitting in place;
- By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support one million ZEVs;
- By 2025, there will be 1.5 million ZEVs on the road in California and clean, efficient vehicles will displace 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels annually; and
- By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be 80% less than 1990 levels.
(Reference Executive Order B-16, 2012)
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Requirements
New PEVs must be equipped with a conductive charger inlet port that meets the specifications contained in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772. PEVs must be equipped with an on-board charger with a minimum output of 3.3 kilovolt amps. These requirements do not apply to PEVs that are only capable of Level 1 charging, which has a maximum power of 12 amperes (amps), a branch circuit rating of 15 amps, and continuous power of 1.44 kilowatts. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1962.2)
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program requires a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels that are sold, supplied, or offered for sale in the state by a minimum of 10% by 2020. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) regulations require transportation fuel producers and importers to meet specified average carbon intensity requirements for fuel. In the regulations, carbon intensity reductions are based on reformulated gasoline mixed with 10% corn-derived ethanol and low-sulfur diesel fuel. Liquefied petroleum gas (propane) is exempt from LCFS requirements, as are non-biomass-based alternative fuels that are supplied in California for use in transportation at an aggregated volume of less than 3.6 million gasoline gallon equivalents per year. Other exemptions apply for transportation fuel used in specific applications. The LCFS Program allows producers and importers to generate, acquire, transfer, bank, borrow, and trade credits. Fuel producers and importers regulated under the LCFS must meet quarterly and annual reporting requirements.
In December 2011, the U.S. District Court issued an injunction preventing ARB from implementing the LCFS because it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by interfering with and discriminating against interstate commerce. In January 2012, ARB filed a notice of appeal of the U.S. District Court ruling, but is withholding enforcement of the LCFS requirements until a final decision is made. In April 2012, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the request to stay the injunction, allowing ARB to continue implementation and enforcement of the rule until the District Court makes a final decision.
State Transportation Plan
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) must update the California Transportation Plan (Plan) by December 31, 2015, and every five years thereafter. The Plan must address how the state will achieve maximum feasible emissions reductions, taking into consideration the use of alternative fuels, new vehicle technology, and tailpipe emissions reductions. Caltrans must prepare and submit an interim report to the California Transportation Commission and to the Senate and Assembly committees related to transportation, environmental quality, natural resources, and local government by December 31, 2012. Caltrans must consult and coordinate with related state agencies, air quality management districts, public transit operators, and regional transportation planning agencies. Caltrans must also provide an opportunity for general public input. Caltrans must submit a final draft of the Plan to the legislature and governor. (Reference California Government Code 65071-65073)
Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards
California's LEV II exhaust emissions standards apply to Model Year (MY) 2004 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles meeting specified exhaust standards. The LEV II standards represent the maximum exhaust emissions for LEVs, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, and Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, including flexible fuel, bi-fuel, and dual-fuel vehicles when operating on an alternative fuel. New MY2009 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles must meet specified fleet average greenhouse gas (GHG) exhaust emissions requirements. Each manufacturer must comply with these fleet average GHG requirements, which are based on California Air Resources Board calculations. Bi-fuel, flexible fuel, dual-fuel, and grid-connected hybrid electric vehicles may be eligible for an alternative compliance method. Manufacturers may earn credits for fleet average GHG values lower than the fleet average GHG requirement applicable to MY2012.
In August 2012, ARB submitted a regulatory proposal, referred to as LEV III, which would allow vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for model years 2017-2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years. See the LEV III Program website for more information.
(Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1961-1961.1)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Production Requirements
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) certifies new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles as ZEVs if the vehicles produce zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) under any and all possible operational modes and conditions. Manufacturers with annual sales greater than 60,000 vehicles must produce and deliver for sale in California a minimum percentage of ZEVs for each model year as follows:
|Model Year||Minimum ZEV Requirement|
|2018 and on||16%|
Manufacturers with annual sales between 4,501 and 60,000 vehicles may comply with the ZEV requirements through multiple alternative compliance options that include producing low emission vehicles and obtaining ZEV credits. Manufacturers with annual sales of 4,500 vehicles or less are not subject to this regulation.
In January 2012, ARB approved a new emissions control program for vehicle model years 2017 through 2025. The program combines the control of smog, soot, and global warming gases and requirements for ZEVs into a single package of standards called Advanced Clean Cars. See the ZEV Program website for more information.
(Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1962.1)
Regional Climate Change Initiative
Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington approved a series of recommendations for action to combat global warming, as detailed in the West Coast Governors' Global Warming Initiative. The three states must act individually as well as regionally to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Initiative includes adopting standards to reduce GHG emissions from vehicles by expanding markets for efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuels, including creating a working group on developing hydrogen fuel. Building upon this commitment, California joined other western states and several Canadian provinces to sign an agreement establishing the Western Climate Initiative, a joint effort to reduce GHG emissions and address climate change.
Alternative Fuel and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Retrofit Regulations
Converting a vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel in lieu of the original gasoline or diesel fuel is prohibited unless the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has evaluated and certified the retrofit system. ARB will issue certification to the manufacturer of the system in the form of an Executive Order once the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with the emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. A manufacturer is defined as a person or company who manufactures or assembles an alternative fuel retrofit system for sale in California; this definition does not include individuals wishing to convert vehicles for personal use. Individuals interested in converting their vehicles to operate on an alternative fuel must ensure that the alternative fuel retrofit systems used for their vehicles have been ARB certified. For more information, see the ARB Alternative Fuel Retrofit System website.
A hybrid electric vehicle that is Model Year 2000 or newer and is a passenger car, light-duty truck, or medium-duty vehicle may be converted to incorporate off-vehicle charging capability if the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. ARB issues certification to the manufacturer and the vehicle must meet California emissions standards for the model year of the original vehicle.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Retrofit Emissions Inspection Process
The California Department of Health and Safety may adopt a process by which state designated referees inspect vehicles that present prohibitive inspection circumstances, such as vehicles equipped with alternative fuel retrofit systems. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44014)
Alternative Fuel Tax
The excise tax imposed on compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) used to operate a vehicle can be paid through an annual flat rate sticker tax based on the following vehicle weights:
|All passenger cars and other vehicles 4,000 pounds (lbs.) or less||$36|
|More than 4,000 lbs. but less than 8,001 lbs.||$72|
|More than 8,000 lbs. but less than 12,001 lbs.||$120|
|12,001 lbs. or more||$168|
Alternatively, owners and operators may pay an excise tax on CNG of $0.07 per 100 cubic feet measured at standard pressure and temperature, $0.06 per gallon of LNG, and $0.06 per gallon of propane. The excise tax on ethanol and methanol fuel blends containing up to 15% gasoline or diesel fuel is half of the current tax on gasoline and diesel.
(Reference California Revenue and Taxation Code 8651-8651.8)
Fleet Vehicle Procurement Requirements
When awarding a vehicle procurement contract, every city, county, and special district, including school and community college districts, may require that 75% of the passenger cars and/or light-duty trucks acquired be energy-efficient vehicles. By definition, this includes hybrid electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles that meet California's advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle (AT PZEV) standards. Vehicle procurement contract evaluations may consider fuel economy and lifecycle factors for scoring purposes. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25725-25726)
Vehicle Acquisition and Petroleum Reduction Requirements
The California Department of General Services (DGS) is responsible for maintaining specifications and standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks that are purchased or leased for state office, agency, and department use. These specifications include minimum vehicle emissions standards and encourage the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). On an annual basis, DGS must compile information including, but not limited to, the number of AFVs and hybrid electric vehicles acquired, the locations of the alternative fuel pumps available for those vehicles, and the total amount of alternative fuels used.
Vehicles the state owns or leases that are capable of operating on alternative fuel must operate on that fuel unless the alternative fuel is not available. Additionally, the California State and Consumer Services Agency, in consultation with DGS and other appropriate state agencies, must develop, implement, and submit to the California Legislature and governor a plan to increase the state fleet's use of alternative fuels, synthetic lubricants, and fuel-efficient vehicles. This must be done by reducing or displacing the fleet's consumption of petroleum products by 20% by January 1, 2020, as compared to the 2003 consumption level. DGS must also:
- Take steps to transfer vehicles between agencies and departments to ensure that the most fuel-efficient vehicles are used and to eliminate the least fuel-efficient vehicles from the state's motor vehicle fleet;
- Submit annual progress reports to the California Department of Finance, related legislative committees, and the general public via the DGS website;
- Encourage other agencies to operate AFVs on the alternative fuel for which they are designed, to the extent feasible;
- Encourage the development of commercial fueling infrastructure at or near state vehicle fueling or parking sites; and
- Work with other agencies to incentivize and promote state employee use of AFVs through preferential or reduced-cost parking, access to electric vehicle charging, or other means, to the extent feasible.
Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Policy Development
The California Energy Commission must prepare and submit an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) to the governor on a biannual basis. The IEPR provides an overview of major energy trends and issues facing the state, including those related to transportation fuels, technologies, and infrastructure. The IEPR also examines potential effects of alternative fuels use, vehicle efficiency improvements, and shifts in transportation modes on public health and safety, the economy, resources, the environment, and energy security. The IEPR's primary purpose is to develop energy policies that conserve resources, protect the environment, ensure energy reliability, enhance the state's economy, and protect public health and safety. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25302)
Hydrogen Fuel Specifications
The California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards (DMS) established interim specifications for hydrogen fuels for use in internal combustion engines and fuel cells in motor vehicles. These specifications are effective until an American National Standards Institute accredited standards development organization formally adopts standards for hydrogen fuels for use in motor vehicle internal combustion engines and fuel cells. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 4, Section 4180-4181)
Heavy-Duty Truck Idle Reduction Requirements
A driver of a diesel-fueled vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds may not idle the vehicle's primary engine for more than five minutes at any location, and is not allowed to operate a diesel-fueled auxiliary power system (APS) on the vehicle for more than five minutes when located within 100 feet of a restricted area. Exceptions apply in certain situations and for certain vehicles. Any internal combustion APS used in California must comply with applicable state off-road and/or federal non-road emissions standards and test procedures for its fuel type and power category to ensure that emissions do not exceed the emissions of a truck engine operating at idle.
Model Year 2008 and newer heavy-duty diesel engines must be equipped with non-programmable engine shutdown systems that automatically shut down the engine after five minutes of idling or optionally meet a stringent nitrogen oxide idling emissions standard. A heavy-duty diesel engine certified for optional idling emissions standards must have a "certified clean idle" label, issued by the engine manufacturer, affixed permanently on the driver's side hood of the truck. Similarly, off-road diesel engine APSs fitted with a proper, verified level 3 diesel particulate filter (DPF) must have a "verified clean APS" label, issued by the APS manufacturer, affixed permanently on the driver's side hood of the truck.
Operators of trucks equipped with sleeper berths are required to shut down the engine manually when idling more than five minutes at any location within California and are subject to fines for violation. The California Department of Motor Vehicles will not register, renew, or transfer registration for any vehicle operator who has received a violation until the violation is cleared.
(Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 2485)
Point of Contact
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (626) 575-6696
Idle Reduction Requirement at Schools
A school bus driver must turn off the engine upon stopping at a school, or within 100 feet of a school, and may not turn the engine on more than 30 seconds before departing from the location. When the bus is at least 100 feet away from a school, the driver may not idle the engine for more than five consecutive minutes, or for periods totaling more than five minutes during any one hour period. Transit and commercial vehicle operators may not idle for more than five consecutive minutes at each stop within 100 feet of a school, or for periods totaling more than five minutes during any one hour period. Exemptions apply for necessary idling while stopped in traffic, at traffic signals, and at the direction of law enforcement personnel. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 2480)
Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations
Box-type trailers that are at least 53 feet long and the heavy-duty tractors that pull these trailers must be equipped with fuel-efficient tires and aerodynamic trailer devices that improve fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Tractors and trailers subject to the regulation must either use U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay certified tractors and trailers or retrofit existing equipment with SmartWay verified technologies. Vehicle owners must comply with these regulations when operating on California highways regardless of where the vehicles are registered. Exemptions apply for some local- and short-haul tractors and trailers. The compliance schedule depends on the type and age of the tractor or trailer. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95300-95311)
Point of Contact
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)
Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Requirements
Through its Mobile Sources Program, the California Air Resources Board has developed programs and policies to reduce emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles through the installation of verified diesel emission control strategies (VDECS) and vehicle replacements.
An on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicle rule requires the retrofit and replacement of nearly all privately owned vehicles operated in California with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds. School buses owned by private and public entities and federal government owned vehicles are also included in the scope of the rule. The requirements include a phase-in period for the installation of VDECS on certain heavier in-use vehicles beginning January 1, 2012, and require the replacement of older vehicles starting January 1, 2015. By January 1, 2023, nearly all vehicles must have engines certified to the 2010 engine standard or equivalent. A drayage/port truck rule regulates heavy-duty diesel-fueled vehicles that transport cargo to and from California's ports and intermodal rail facilities. The rule requires that certain drayage trucks be equipped with VDECS and that all applicable vehicles have engines certified to the 2007 emissions standards by January 1, 2014. A public transit agency fleet rule regulates public transit fleets and sets emissions reduction standards for new transit vehicles. A solid waste collection vehicle rule regulates solid waste collection vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or more that operate on diesel fuel, have 1960 through 2006 engine models, and collect waste for a fee. The fleet rule for public agencies and utilities requires fleets to install VDECS on vehicles or purchase vehicles that run on alternative fuels or use advanced technologies to achieve emissions requirements by specified implementation dates.
Point of Contact
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)
Tire Inflation Requirement
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles operating inefficiently with under inflated tires. These regulations apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. Automotive service providers performing or offering to perform automotive maintenance or repair services in the state must:
- Check and inflate vehicle tires to the manufacturer recommended tire pressure rating, with air or nitrogen as appropriate, using a tire pressure gauge with a total permissible error of no more than plus/minus two pounds per square inch, when performing maintenance or repair;
- Indicate on the vehicle service invoice that a tire inflation service was completed and specify the resulting pressure measurements;
- Have access to a tire inflation reference published within the last three years; and
- Keep a copy of the service invoice for at least three years and make the invoice available to ARB or an authorized representative upon request.
Fuel-Efficient Tire Program Development
The California Energy Commission must adopt and implement a state-wide Fuel Efficient Tire Program that includes a consumer information and education program and minimum tire efficiency standards. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25770-25773)
Low-Speed Electric Vehicle (EV) Access to Roadways
A low-speed EV, also known as a neighborhood electric vehicle, is defined as a motor vehicle with four wheels, a gross vehicle weight rating of 3,000 pounds or less, and capable of achieving a minimum speed of 20 miles per hour (mph) and a maximum speed of 25 mph. Low-speed EVs are subject to all provisions applicable to a motor vehicle and must meet federal safety standards established in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 571.500. Drivers of low-speed EVs must comply with all provisions applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. The operator of a low-speed EV may not operate the vehicle on any roadway with a posted speed limit greater than 35 mph except to cross a roadway at an intersection. (Reference California Vehicle Code 385.5 and 21250-21266)
Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Access to Roadways
The cities of Lincoln and Rocklin in Placer County established an NEV Transportation Plan (Plan) for low-speed vehicles that may be used on state highways under certain conditions. As part of the Plan, the cities prepared a report to the California Legislature that includes a description of the plan and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan.
Additionally, discussions are encouraged between the legislature, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and the California Highway Patrol regarding the adoption of a new classification for licensing motorists who use NEVs. Additional jurisdictions that may establish NEV transportation plans are as follows:
|Jurisdiction||Report Deadline||NEV Transportation Plan Deadline|
|Amador County, City of Jackson, City of Sutter Creek, and Amador City||January 1, 2015||January 1, 2016|
|City of Fresno||November 1, 2014||January 1, 2016|
|Riverside County||January 1, 2016||January 1, 2017|
|Orange County (Ranch Plan Planned Community)||November 1, 2015||January 1, 2017|
(Reference California Streets and Highways Code 1962, 1963-1963.8, 1964-1964.8, 1965-1965.7, 1966-1966.7)
Fleet Emissions Reduction Requirements - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) requires government fleets and private contractors under contract with public entities to purchase non-diesel lower emission and alternative fuel vehicles. The rule applies to transit bus, school bus, refuse hauler, and other vehicle fleets of at least 15 vehicles that operate in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties. (Reference SCAQMD Rules 1186.1 and 1191-1196)