SACRAMENTO – More than 250,000 Californians have now received a financial Clean Fuel Reward at the point of sale when they purchased or leased a plug-in electric vehicle, an important milestone for this program after only 18 months since it began.
The California Air Resources Board’s California Clean Fuel Reward program provides an instant price reduction of up to $750 at the point of sale or lease for eligible new plug-in electric vehicles at participating retailers. Since the program launch in November 2020, more than $319 million in rewards have been received by EV buyers. Of the total rewards, 21.2% of incentives went to customers in underserved communities, 10% to customers in low-income communities and another 10% to customers in disadvantaged communities.
“The California Clean Fuel Reward provides an easy ‘on-the-hood’ price reduction right at the dealership that lowers the purchase price. That is helping to accelerate the sale of plug-in electric vehicles across our state,” said CARB Vice Chair Sandra Berg, who was instrumental in developing the program with the utilities. “This point-of-sale price reduction is also helping make these clean cars more affordable for all, including those living in communities long overburdened by air pollution.”
CARB and car dealers alike had long been seeking a program to help support the sale of plug-in cars that involved making funds immediately available at the dealership, as opposed to other incentive programs that required applications and a waiting period to receive them. After two years of discussion and collaboration between the California Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission and electric utilities throughout the state the California Clean Fuel Reward was launched on November 17, 2020. It proved immensely popular: Within six weeks, 741 retailers representing nearly 90% of the EV market had been approved to participate.
The California Clean Fuel Reward Program is administered by Southern California Edison in collaboration with electric utilities across the state, giving all Californians the ability to receive the reward, regardless of their electric utility provider.
“Our analysis shows that in order for California to meet its climate goals, 26 million EVs will need to be on the state’s roads by 2045,” said Katie Sloan, SCE Vice President of Customer Programs and Services. “The California Clean Fuel Reward Program is helping us reach that goal while allowing more people to participate in the clean transportation revolution.”
Funded by credits generated by utilities in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), the California Clean Fuel Reward makes electric vehicles even more affordable to a broad group of customers due to few eligibility restrictions and its ability to be stacked with other federal, state and local rewards. The LCFS is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuel pool and provide low-carbon and renewable alternatives, reducing air pollution and the state’s dependency on petroleum. The reward amount depends on the vehicle battery capacity where vehicles with a battery capacity of 16 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or greater would receive the full reward and vehicles with smaller capacities would receive a prorated reward down to 5 kWh.
CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. CARB is the lead agency for climate change programs and oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards.