California to Spend $2.5B to Boost Zero-Emission Vehicle Sales

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A day after touting California’s progressive environmental policies, Gov. Jerry Brown upped the ante on Friday by ordering the state to spend $2.5 billion on zero-emission vehicle subsidies and related infrastructure.

In an executive order, Brown said the new 8-year initiative will put California on the path to having at least 5 million clean-energy cars on state roads by 2030. Brown, who mentioned the target Thursday in his State of the State address, also proposed spending $1.25 billion in cap-and-trade revenue on a variety of climate change programs.

“This executive order aims to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California,” Brown said in a statement. “In addition, the cap-and-trade investments will, in varying degrees, reduce California’s carbon footprint and improve the quality of life for all.”

The announcement builds on Brown’s previous order which called for 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025. Friday’s executive order directs the state to build 250,000 vehicle chargers and requires state agencies to work with stakeholders to promote zero-emission cars and jobs.

Brown said he also wants to boost the state’s current climate change initiatives with $1.25 billion in cap-and-trade dollars. The expenditure plan, which must be negotiated with the Legislature, dedicates funding to air pollution, short-lived climate pollutants, wildfire prevention and other clean energy projects.

If the spending plan is included in the next state budget, $160 million would be dedicated to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for the removal of downed trees and other fuel-reduction projects. An additional $435 million in cap-and-trade dollars would be shifted to the California Air Resources Board to improve public transportation, expand rebate programs for clean car purchases and modernization projects in disadvantaged communities.

Earlier this month a California lawmaker introduced a bill that would require all passenger cars sold after Jan. 1, 2040, to be zero-emission.  Brown has not commented publicly on Assembly Bill 1745.

The state estimates there are over 300,000 zero-emission vehicles currently on California roads. Meanwhile, American auto manufacturers remain committed to producing electric and hybrid cars, with Ford saying it will soon offer 13 electric models and General Motors planning 23 by 2023.

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