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Incentive program puts hybrid vehicles on California roads

A financial incentive program has helped put more than 650 hybrid trucks and buses on California roads, according to the California Air Resources Board.

The Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program provides $20,000 to $35,000 as vouchers to help California fleets offset the purchase price of advanced-technology hybrid trucks and buses. This technology reduces greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions, particularly in heavy-idling or stop-and-go vehicles.

The hybrid truck program also recently received recognition by the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy as one of the nation’s best energy efficiency programs.

CARB created the financial incentive program in 2007 as part of legislation that provided funding for alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. The voucher program is implemented by CALSTART, a non-profit organization that works with business, fleets, and government to develop and implement clean, efficient transportation systems. CALSTART provides the vouchers to truck dealerships at the time a vehicle is ordered on a first-come, first-served basis.

All $19 million dedicated to the voucher program under the original legislation to help Californians purchase cleaner, hybrid vehicles has been distributed. Up to an additional $25 million was approved by the board in June 2010 to fund more hybrid vehicles beginning in early 2011.

Most of the vehicles funded were beverage and package delivery trucks, with almost all funding going to private fleets. More than 300 of the vehicles are classified as heavy-duty trucks and more than 200 are classified as light-duty trucks.

Because of the success of the state incentive program, the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s board of directors recently approved another $1.4 million to help fleets purchase hybrid trucks and buses in their own region.

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