Clean Air District Gets More State Money for Incentives to Junk Polluting Gas Guzzlers

Up to 900 people could receive cash incentives this month to turn in old vehicles for greener transit options.

The California Air Resources Board has allocated $8.4 million in state funds to revive the two-year-old Clean Cars for All program, the board of directors for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Wednesday.

The program seeks to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the Bay Area, while simultaneously working toward the goal of equitable access to electric vehicles and clean transportation, Jack Broadbent, executive director of the air district, wrote in a memo to the board ahead of an Aug. 4 meeting.

The $8.4 million allocation from the California Air Resources Board will allow the district to reopen the program and accept applications, he said.

Since April 2019, the Clean Cars program has provided grants up to $9,500 for low-income residents to retire older, high-polluting cars and replace them with a newer, cleaner vehicle or with mobility options like a transit card or e-bike.

The program focuses on disadvantaged communities, which limited program eligibility to 76 ZIP codes in the Bay Area.

Residents who qualify can get grants up to $9,500 to buy or lease a new or used plug-in, electric or fuel cell vehicle or get up to $7,500 to collect a pre-paid card for public transit or e-bikes.

Residents enrolled in low-income programs like CalFresh or CalWORKS could receive an additional $500.

In order to receive any of the grants, residents must first submit an application and get a pre-inspection done on their old car by an authorized dismantler. If approved, the resident then signs the terms and conditions and receives the award letter.

Once they use the money to lease or buy a new car or collect their prepaid card for other mobility options, they then turn in their old vehicle to be dismantled.

As of early August, the air district had spent $16.73 million in grants to more than 1,920 applicants in the Bay Area since the program began.

The air district anticipates with this new round of funding it will distribute 800-900 grants.

However, the air district will not use all of the $8.4 million in grants. Broadbent's memo outlines that up to 15 percent can be used by the air district to administer the program: 10%t to support air district staff costs to manage applications and cases and the remaining 5% can be contracted out for resident outreach.

Residents interested in the Clean Cars for All program can learn more or sign up for the email list for updates at


  1. More Tax dollars for politicians to fritter away and fund their special interest groups – with little real benefit in the long term. With Electric Power Outages another Huge Likelihood this summer how “Clean” and “Convenient” is one of these things?
    “Research has shown, in fact, that about 20% of those who buy or lease a hybrid or battery-electric vehicle end up SWITCHING BACK to Gasoline-powered cars on their next purchase.”

    “While many in single-family homes can easily get home-chargers, for LOWER INCOME households a home charger can be unaffordable, and those who live in apartments and condos may not be able to install a charger where they park…”

  2. Even the “tangentials” are amusing. Is this program focusing on, and motivated, at least in part by those transit riders who quit riding transit once they saved enough to get a used car? I suspect that’s true for many people with what was reported about the decline of transit use. (Then there are the crime and filth push factors in addition to the time-and-trouble part.)

  3. So many EV advocates are so ignorant about reality, expecting everyone to be able to charge at home, or failing that, at work. That’s at the same time that (likely with the interest and advocacy of some of these EV advocates) people are being shoved into high-density multi-unit housing with deliberately insufficient or even no parking.

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