News: Energy Efficient Cars More Affordable For Lower-Income Families in California

electric-smart-carThe California Air Resource Board is launching a pilot program aimed to increase car ownership of fuel-efficient cars among lower-income families. This pilot program is only currently available in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air districts who meet the income requirements: 1) those with a household income equal to or less than 225 percent of the federal poverty level, 2) those between 226 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level and 3) those between 301 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. In addition, those individuals must reside in a ZIP code that contains a disadvantaged census tract. (This is determined by CalEnviroScreen. See

The incentives vary but a low-income family could get up to $12,000 toward the purchase of a fuel-efficient vehicle if they also turn in their gas guzzling clunker. However, most families are not likely to get that much.

I’m not good at figuring out percentage of federal poverty levels. However, according to, a 4-person household can make up to $97,000 and still qualify for this program. It’s worth checking out if you’re living in the right area. Of course, you should check directly with the Air Resource Board for details.

Note: The headline on the Money website where I first read about this program was actually “Poor People Can Get Cars For Free in California Pilot Program.”  I admit my headline is way less catchy but Money’s headline did not sit well with me for some reason. 


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