Hydrogen Laws and Incentives in California
The list below contains summaries of all California laws and incentives related to hydrogen.
Laws and Regulations
Establishment of Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and Near-ZEV Component Rebates
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will establish the Zero Emission Assurance Project (ZAP) to offer rebates for the replacement of a battery, fuel cell, or other related vehicle component for eligible used ZEVs and near-ZEVs. Rebates will be limited to one per vehicle. By January 1, 2024, ARB must publish a report to the legislature detailing the number of rebates awarded, the emissions benefits of the ZAP, and the impacts of the ZAP on low-income consumer decisions to purchase zero and near-zero emissions vehicles. A ZEV is defined as a vehicle that produces no criteria pollutant, toxic air contaminant, or greenhouse gas emissions when stationary or operating. A near-ZEV is a vehicle that uses zero emission technologies, uses technologies that provide a pathway to zero emission operations, or incorporates other technologies that significantly reduce vehicle emissions. Rebates will be available through July 31, 2025. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44274.9)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Parking Incentive Programs
The California Department of General Services (DGS) and California Department of Transportation (DOT) must develop and implement AFV parking incentive programs in public parking facilities operated by DGS with 50 or more parking spaces and park-and-ride lots owned and operated by DOT. The incentives must provide meaningful and tangible benefits to drivers, such as preferential spaces, reduced fees, and fueling infrastructure. Fueling infrastructure built at park-and-ride lots is not subject to restricted use by those using bicycles, public transit, or ridesharing. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25722.9)
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Grants
The Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Program (Program) provides funding for projects that reduce air pollution from on- and off-road vehicles. Eligible projects include purchasing AFVs and developing alternative fueling infrastructure. Contact local air districts and see the Program website for more information about available grant funding and distribution from the Program. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44220 (b))
Alternative Fuel and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Retrofit Regulations
Converting a vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel in lieu of the original gasoline or diesel fuel is prohibited unless the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has evaluated and certified the retrofit system. ARB will issue certification to the manufacturer of the system in the form of an Executive Order once the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with the emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. A manufacturer is defined as a person or company who manufactures or assembles an alternative fuel retrofit system for sale in California; this definition does not include individuals wishing to convert vehicles for personal use. Individuals interested in converting their vehicles to operate on an alternative fuel must ensure that the alternative fuel retrofit systems used for their vehicles have been ARB certified. For more information, see the ARB Alternative Fuel Retrofit Systems website.
A hybrid electric vehicle that is Model Year 2000 or newer and is a passenger car, light-duty truck, or medium-duty vehicle may be converted to incorporate off-vehicle charging capability if the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. ARB issues certification to the manufacturer and the vehicle must meet California emissions standards for the model year of the original vehicle.
Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Policy Development
The California Energy Commission (CEC) must prepare and submit an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) to the governor on a biannual basis. The IEPR provides an overview of major energy trends and issues facing the state, including those related to transportation fuels, technologies, and infrastructure. The IEPR also examines potential effects of alternative fuels use, vehicle efficiency improvements, and shifts in transportation modes on public health and safety, the economy, resources, the environment, and energy security. The IEPR's primary purpose is to develop energy policies that conserve resources, protect the environment, ensure energy reliability, enhance the state's economy, and protect public health and safety. For the current IEPR, see the CEC California's Energy Policy website.
As of November 1, 2015, and every four years thereafter, the CEC must also include in the IEPR strategies to maximize the benefits of natural gas in various sectors. This includes the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. For more information, see the 2020 Integrated Energy Policy Report. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25302 and 25303.5)
Establishment of a Zero Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program
The California Clean Truck, Bus, and Off-Road Vehicle and Equipment Technology Program (Program) will provide funding for development, demonstration, pre-commercial pilot, and early commercial implementation projects for zero and near-zero emission trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles and equipment. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Technology development, demonstration, pre-commercial pilots, and early commercial implementation projects for zero and near-zero emission truck technology;
- Zero and near-zero emission bus technology development, demonstration, pre-commercial pilots, and early commercial deployments, including pilots of multiple vehicles at one site or region;
- Purchase incentives for commercially available zero and near-zero emission truck, bus, and off-road vehicle and equipment technologies and fueling infrastructure; and
- Projects that support greater commercial motor vehicle and equipment freight efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, including autonomous vehicles, grid integration technology, and charge management solutions.
Fleet Emissions Reduction Requirements - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) requires government fleets and private contractors under contract with public entities to purchase non-diesel lower emission and alternative fuel vehicles. The rule applies to transit bus, school bus, refuse hauler, and other vehicle fleets of at least 15 vehicles that operate in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties. (Reference SCAQMD Rules 1186.1 and 1191-1196)
Fleet Vehicle Procurement Requirements
When awarding a vehicle procurement contract, every city, county, and special district, including school and community college districts, may require that 75% of the passenger cars and/or light-duty trucks acquired be energy-efficient vehicles. By definition, this includes hybrid electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles that meet California's advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle standards. Vehicle procurement contract evaluations may consider fuel economy and life cycle factors for scoring purposes. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25725-25726)
Freight Efficiency Action Plan
The California State Transportation Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Agency, and other state departments implemented the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan (Plan), which establishes targets to improve freight efficiency and transition to zero emission technologies. The Plan identifies state policies, programs, and investments to achieve the following targets:
- Improve freight system efficiency by 25% by 2030; and
- Deploy over 100,000 zero emission freight vehicles and associated equipment, maximizing the number of vehicles powered by renewable energy, by 2030.
Hydrogen Fuel Specifications
The California Department of Food and Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards (DMS) requires that hydrogen fuel used in internal combustion engines and fuel cells must meet the SAE International J2719 standard for hydrogen fuel quality. For more information, see the DMS Hydrogen Fuel website. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 4, Section 4180-4181)
Hydrogen Fueling Station Evaluation
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) may not enforce any element of regulations that would require a supplier to construct, operate, or provide funding to construct or operate a publicly available hydrogen fueling station.
Annually, ARB must aggregate and share the number of hydrogen vehicles that manufacturers project will be sold or leased over the next three years and the total number of hydrogen vehicle registered in the state. Based on this information, ARB must evaluate the need for additional publicly available hydrogen fueling stations for the subsequent three years and report findings to the California Energy Commission (CEC) including the of number of stations, geographic areas where stations are needed, and minimum operating standards, such as number of dispensers and filling pressures.
The CEC will allocate up to $20 million per year to fund the number of stations deemed necessary based on ARB's evaluation and reports. The CEC may stop funding new stations if it determines, in consultation with ARB, that the private sector is developing publicly available stations without the need for government support.
The CEC and ARB must annually issue a report on progress toward establishing a hydrogen fueling station network that meets the needs of vehicles being used in the state. The review will determine the remaining cost and time required to establish a network of 100 publicly available hydrogen fueling stations and whether funding from the Clean Transportation Program is necessary to achieve this goal. For more information see ARB's Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure website and the CEC and ARB Joint Agency Report on Assembly Bill 8.
(Reference California Health and Safety Code 43018.9)
Light-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Requirement
All sales of new light-duty passenger vehicles in California must be ZEVs by 2035. ZEVs include all-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. The ARB will develop regulations related to in-state sales of new light-duty cars and trucks. The ARB will also work with state agencies to develop a ZEV Market Development Strategy (Strategy) to support these regulations and assess statewide ZEV infrastructure by January 31, 2021. The Strategy will be updated triennially. (Reference Executive Order N-79-20)
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program requires a reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels that are sold, supplied, or offered for sale in the state by a minimum of 10% by 2020. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) regulations require transportation fuel producers and importers to meet specified average carbon intensity requirements for fuel. In the regulations, carbon intensity reductions are based on reformulated gasoline mixed with 10% corn-derived ethanol and low-sulfur diesel fuel. Propane is exempt from LCFS requirements, as are non-biomass-based alternative fuels that are supplied in California for use in transportation at an aggregated volume of less than 3.6 million gasoline gallon equivalents per year. Other exemptions apply for transportation fuel used in specific applications. The LCFS Program allows producers and importers to generate, acquire, transfer, bank, borrow, and trade credits. Fuel producers and importers regulated under the LCFS must meet quarterly and annual reporting requirements. For more information, see the LCFS Program website. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95480-95490 and California Health and Safety Code 38500-38599)
Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards
California's LEV II exhaust emissions standards apply to Model Year (MY) 2004 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles meeting specified exhaust standards. The LEV II standards represent the maximum exhaust emissions for LEVs, Ultra LEVs, and Super Ultra LEVs, including flexible fuel, bi-fuel, and dual-fuel vehicles when operating on an alternative fuel. MY 2009 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles must meet specified fleet average greenhouse gas (GHG) exhaust emissions requirements. Each manufacturer must comply with these fleet average GHG requirements, which are based on California Air Resources Board (ARB) calculations. Bi-fuel, flexible fuel, dual-fuel, and grid-connected hybrid electric vehicles may be eligible for an alternative compliance method.
In December 2012, ARB finalized regulatory requirements, referred to as LEV III, which allow vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for MY 2017-2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years. For more information, see the ARB LEVII and LEV III Program websites for more information. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1961-1961.3)
Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington (signatory states) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs through involvement in a Multi-State ZEV Task Force (Task Force).
By January 2021, the Task Force will develop a multi-state action plan to support electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The Task Force will consider actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including limiting all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sales in the signatory states to ZEVs by 2050. The signatory states will also seek to accelerate the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs to benefit disadvantaged communities and explore opportunities to coordinate and partner with key stakeholders.
For more information, see the Medium- and Heavy-Duty ZEVs: Action Plan Development Process website.
Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Requirement
The California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) Advanced Clean Truck Program requires all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in California to be a ZEV by 2045. Zero-emission technologies include all-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. Beginning in 2024, manufacturers seeking ARB certification for Class 2b through Class 8 chassis or complete vehicles with combustion engines will be required to sell zero-emission trucks as an increasing percentage of their annual California sales. Manufacturers must achieve the following annual sales percentages for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs sold in California:
|ZEV Sales Percentages|
|Vehicle Model Year (MY)||Class 2b-3||Class 4-5||Class 6-8, excluding tractors||Class 7-8 Tractors|
|2035 and future years||55%||75%||75%||40%|
Additionally, entities with annual gross revenues greater than $50 million, fleet owners with 50 or more medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, and any California government or federal agency with one or more vehicles over 8,500 pounds must report their existing fleet operations to ensure fleets are purchasing and placing zero-emission trucks in the correct service locations.
For more information, including additional requirements and exemptions, see the ARB Advanced Clean Trucks Program website.
(Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Sections 1963-1963.5 and 2012-2012.2)
Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Requirements
Through its Mobile Sources Program, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has developed programs and policies to reduce emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles through the installation of verified diesel emission control strategies (VDECS) and vehicle replacements.
The on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicle rule (i.e., truck and bus regulation) requires the retrofit and replacement of nearly all privately owned vehicles operated in California with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds (lbs.). School buses owned by private and public entities and federal government owned vehicles are also included in the scope of the rule. By January 1, 2023, nearly all vehicles must have engines certified to the 2010 engine standard or equivalent. The drayage truck rule regulates heavy-duty diesel-fueled vehicles that transport cargo to and from California's ports and intermodal rail facilities. The rule requires that certain drayage trucks be equipped with VDECS and that all applicable vehicles have engines certified to the 2007 emissions standards. By January 1, 2023, all applicable vehicles must have engines certified to 2010 standards. The solid waste collection vehicle rule regulates solid waste collection vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 lbs. or more that operate on diesel fuel, have 1960 through 2006 engine models, and collect waste for a fee. The fleet rule for public agencies and utilities requires fleets to install VDECS on vehicles or purchase vehicles that run on alternative fuels or use advanced technologies to achieve emissions requirements by specified implementation dates.
(Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, 2021-2027)
Point of Contact
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)
Public Utility Definition
A corporation or individual that owns, controls, operates, or manages a facility that supplies electricity to the public exclusively to charge light-duty battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, compressed natural gas to fuel natural gas vehicles, or hydrogen as a motor vehicle fuel is not defined as a public utility. (Reference California Public Utilities Code 216)
State Agency Low Carbon Fuel Use Requirement
At least 3% of the aggregate amount of bulk transportation fuel purchased by the state government must be from very low carbon transportation fuel sources. The required amount of very low carbon transportation fuel purchased will increase by 1% annually until January 1, 2024. Some exemptions may apply, as determined by the California Department of General Services (DGS). Very low carbon fuel is defined as a transportation fuel having no greater than 40% of the carbon intensity of the closest comparable petroleum fuel for that year, as measured by the methodology in California Code of Regulations Title 17, Sections 95480-95486. DGS will submit an annual progress report to the California Legislature. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 43870, and California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95480-95486)
State Transportation Plan
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) must update the California Transportation Plan (Plan) by December 31, 2020, and every five years thereafter. The Plan must address how the state will achieve maximum feasible emissions reductions, taking into consideration the use of alternative fuels, new vehicle technology, and tailpipe emissions reductions. Caltrans must consult and coordinate with related state agencies, air quality management districts, public transit operators, and regional transportation planning agencies. Caltrans must also provide an opportunity for general public input. Caltrans must submit a final draft of the Plan to the legislature and governor. A copy of the 2016 report is available on the Caltrans website. Caltrans must also review the Plan and prepare a report for the legislature and governor that includes actionable, programmatic transportation system improvement recommendations every five years. (Reference California Government Code 65070-65073)
Support for Zero-Emission and Autonomous Vehicle Infrastructure
Cities and counties that receive funding from the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program are encouraged to use funds towards advanced transportation technologies and communication systems, including, but not limited to, zero-emission vehicle fueling infrastructure and infrastructure-to-vehicle communications for autonomous vehicles. (Reference California Streets and Highways Code 2030)
Vehicle Acquisition and Petroleum Reduction Requirements
The California Department of General Services (DGS) is responsible for maintaining specifications and standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks that are purchased or leased for state office, agency, and department use. These specifications include minimum vehicle emissions standards and encourage the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Specifically, DGS must reduce or displace the fleet's consumption of petroleum products by 20% by January 1, 2020, as compared to the 2003 consumption level. Beginning in fiscal year 2024, DGS must also ensure that at least 50% of the light-duty vehicles purchased by the state are zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Further, at least 15% of DGS' fleet of new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 19,000 pounds or more must be ZEVs by 2025, and at least 30% by 2030.
On an annual basis, DGS must compile information including, but not limited to, the number of AFVs and hybrid electric vehicles acquired, the locations of the alternative fuel pumps available for those vehicles, and the total amount of alternative fuels used. Vehicles the state owns or leases that are capable of operating on alternative fuel must operate on that fuel unless the alternative fuel is not available. DGS is also required to:
- Take steps to transfer vehicles between agencies and departments to ensure that the most fuel-efficient vehicles are used and to eliminate the least fuel-efficient vehicles from the state's motor vehicle fleet;
- Submit annual progress reports to the California Department of Finance, related legislative committees, and the general public via the DGS website;
- Encourage other agencies to operate AFVs on the alternative fuel for which they are designed, to the extent feasible;
- Encourage the development of commercial fueling infrastructure at or near state vehicle fueling or parking sites;
- Work with other agencies to incentivize and promote state employee use of AFVs through preferential or reduced-cost parking, access to electric vehicle charging, or other means, to the extent feasible; and
- Establish a more stringent fuel economy standard than the 2007 standard.
(Reference California Public Resources Code 25722.5-25722.11 and 25724)
Volkswagen (VW) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Plan
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved the VW California ZEV Investment Plan. As required by the October 2016 2.0-Liter Partial Consent Decree, VW must invest $800 million over ten years to support the increased adoption of ZEV technology in California. VW will submit a series of four 30-month cycle ZEV investment plans to ARB for approval. ARB has approved the Cycle 2 plan, covering July 2019 through December 2021. The Cycle 2 plan includes building a basic charging network, public outreach, education, and marketing, and ZEV access projects. ZEV infrastructure rollouts will be focused in nine metropolitan areas. VW will continue access efforts in Sacramento, with the goal of offering residents a better quality of life through enhanced mobility and improved air quality.For more information, see the Electrify America Investment Plan website and ARB's VW Settlement website.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Deployment Support
California joined Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the deployment of ZEVs through involvement in a ZEV Program Implementation Task Force (Task Force). In May 2014, the Task Force published a ZEV Action Plan (Plan) identifying 11 priority actions to accomplish the goals of the MOU, including deploying at least 3.3 million ZEVs and adequate fueling infrastructure within the signatory states by 2025. The Plan also includes a research agenda to inform future actions. On an annual basis, each state must report on the number of registered ZEVs, the number of public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and hydrogen fueling stations, and available information regarding workplace fueling for ZEVs.
In June 2018, the Task Force published a new ZEV Action Plan for 2018-2021. Building on the 2014 Action Plan, the 2018 Action Plan makes recommendations for states and other key partners in five priority areas:
- Raising consumer awareness and interest in electric vehicle technology;
- Building out a reliable and convenient residential, workplace and public charging/fueling infrastructure network;
- Continuing and improving access to consumer purchase and non-financial incentives;
- Expanding public and private sector fleet adoption; and
- Supporting dealership efforts to increase ZEV sales.
For more information, see the Multi-State ZEV Task Force website.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Fee
Effective July 1, 2020, ZEV owners must pay an annual road improvement fee of $100 upon vehicle registration or registration renewal for ZEVs model year 2020 and later. The California Department of Motor Vehicles will increase the fee annually to account for inflation, equal to the increase in the California Consumer Price Index for the prior year. (Reference California Vehicle Code 9250.6)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Initiative
The California Air Resources Board's (ARB) Charge Ahead California Initiative was established to help place into service at least 1 million ZEVs and near-zero emission vehicles in California by January 1, 2023. In consultation with the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, ARB prepared a funding plan that includes a market and technology assessment, assessments of existing zero and near-zero emission funding programs, and programs that increase access to disadvantaged, low-income, and moderate-income communities and consumers. Potential programs under the initiative include those involving innovative financing, car sharing, charging infrastructure in multi-unit dwellings located in disadvantaged communities, public transit, and agricultural vanpool programs. The funding plan must be updated at least every three years through January 1, 2023. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44258.4)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Production Requirements
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) certifies new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles as ZEVs if the vehicles produce zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) under any and all possible operational modes and conditions.
Manufacturers with annual sales between 4,501 and 60,000 vehicles may comply with the ZEV requirements through multiple alternative compliance options that include producing low emission vehicles and obtaining ZEV credits. Manufacturers with annual sales of 4,500 vehicles or less are not subject to this regulation.
ARB's emissions control program for MY 2017 through 2025 combines the control of smog, soot, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) and requirements for ZEVs into a single package of standards called Advanced Clean Cars. In December 2012, ARB finalized new regulatory requirements that allow vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for MY 2017-2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years.
The accounting procedures for MY 2018-2025 are based on a credit system as shown in the table below. The minimum ZEV requirement for each manufacturer includes the percentage of passenger cars and light-duty trucks produced by the manufacturer and delivered for sale in California. The regulation also includes opportunities for compliance with transitional zero emission vehicles, which must demonstrate certain exhaust emissions standards, evaporative emissions standards, on-board diagnostic requirements, and extended warranties.
|2025 and later||22%|
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Programs Report
The California Air Resources Board (ARB), in partnership with its stakeholders, must complete a report that reviews each of ARB's ZEV-related programs by July 1, 2019. Specifically, the report must include an analysis of the greenhouse gas and air quality goals of each ZEV program, the progress of each program towards meeting its goals, and a cost-benefit analysis of each program. In this report, ARB must also propose recommendations for improvements to these programs and on how to encourage the cost-effective deployment of ZEVs in fleets across the state. For more information, see the ARB ZEV Program website. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 43018.8)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Promotion Plan
All California state agencies must support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of ZEVs in California. In particular, the Air Resources Board, Energy Commission (CEC), Public Utilities Commission, and other relevant state agencies must work with the private sector to establish benchmarks to achieve targets for ZEV commercialization and deployment. These targets include:
- By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support one million ZEVs;
- By 2025, there will be 1.5 million ZEVs on the road in California and clean, efficient vehicles will displace 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels annually;
- By 2025, there will be 200 hydrogen fueling stations and 250,000 plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) chargers, including 10,000 direct current fast chargers, in California;
- By 2030, there will be 5 million ZEVs on the road in California; and
- By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be 80% less than 1990 levels.
- Develop new criteria for clean vehicle incentive programs to encourage manufacturers to produce clean, affordable cars;
- Update the 2016 ZEV Action plan, with a focus on low income and disadvantaged communities;
- Recommend actions to increase the deployment of ZEV infrastructure through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard;
- Support and recommend policies that will facilitate the installation of PEV infrastructure in homes and businesses; and
- Ensure PEV charging and hydrogen fueling are affordable and accessible to all drivers.
(Reference Executive Orders N-19-19, 2019, B-48, 2018, and B-16, 2012)
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and Infrastructure Support
The California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission must provide technical assistance and support for the development of zero-emission fuels, fueling infrastructure, and fuel transportation technologies. Technical assistance and support may include the creation of research, development, and demonstration programs. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25617)
Zero-Emission Airport Shuttle Requirement
By 2035, all airport fixed-route shuttle fleets must transition to 100% zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Zero-emission shuttle technologies include all-electric or fuel cell electric technologies. Starting in 2022, shuttle fleets must report the details of their vehicles to the California Air Resources Board (ARB). Starting in 2023, if fleets replace a ZEV shuttle, the replacement must be a ZEV. For additional terms and conditions, see ARB’s Zero-Emission Airport Shuttle website. (Reference Resolution Number 19-8, 2019)
Zero-Emission Transit Bus Requirement
By 2040, all public transit agencies must transition to 100% zero-emission bus fleets. Zero-emission bus technologies include all-electric or fuel cell electric. Transit agencies must purchase or operate a minimum number of zero-emission buses according to the following schedules:
|Large Transit Agency||Small Transit Agency|
|January 1, 2023||25% of the total number of new bus purchases in each calendar year must be zero-emission buses||No requirement|
|January 1, 2026||50% of the total number of new bus purchases in each calendar year must be zero-emission buses||25% of the total number of new bus purchases in each calendar year must be zero-emission buses|
|January 1, 2029||All new bus purchases must be zero-emission buses||All new bus purchases must be zero-emission buses|
Each transit agency will submit a plan demonstrating how it will purchase clean buses, develop infrastructure, train personnel, and other required details. Large transit agencies must submit a plan in 2020 and small agencies must submit a plan in 2023. Additional rules and requirements apply.
For more information, including definitions of large and small transit agencies and additional terms and conditions, see the California Air Resources Board’s Innovative Clean Transit website.
(Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 2023.1)
Advanced Transportation Tax Exclusion
The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) provides a sales and use tax exclusion for qualified manufacturers of advanced transportation products, components, or systems that reduce pollution and energy use and promote economic development. Incentives are available until December 31, 2025. For more information, including application materials, see the CAEATFA Sales and Use Tax Exclusion Program website. (Reference California Public Resources Code 26000-26017)
Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Grant – Santa Barbara County
The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD) provides grants for the installation of alternative fuel infrastructure located in Santa Barbara County. Grants may cover 80% of project cost, up to $150,000. Eligible projects include electric vehicle supply equipment, hydrogen, and natural gas fueling stations. For more information, including current funding opportunities, see the SBCAPCD Clean Air Grants website.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Technical Training - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Mechanic Training Program, which provides incentives of up to $15,000 to educate personnel on the mechanics, operation safety, and maintenance of AFVs, fueling stations, and tools involved in the implementation of alternative fuel technologies. For more information, see the AFV Mechanic Training Component website.
Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Rebate - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Drive Clean! Rebate Program, which provides rebates for the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles, including qualified natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell, propane, all-electric, plug-in electric vehicles, and zero emission motorcycles. The program offers rebates of up to $3,000, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis for residents and businesses located in the SJVAPCD. For more information, including a list of eligible vehicles and other requirements, see the SJVAPCD Drive Clean! Rebate Program website.
Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Incentives
The California Energy Commission (CEC) administers the Clean Transportation Program (Program) to provide financial incentives for businesses, vehicle and technology manufacturers, workforce training partners, fleet owners, consumers, and academic institutions with the goal of developing and deploying alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies. Funding areas include:
- Electric vehicles and charging infrastructure;
- Hydrogen vehicles and refueling infrastructure;
- Medium- and heavy-duty zero emission vehicles;
- Natural gas vehicles and refueling infrastructure;
- Biofuels; and,
- Workforce development.
Bus Replacement Grant
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) offers grants for the purchase of new zero-emission buses to replace old gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas, or propane buses. Grants are available in the following amounts:
|Electric Transit Bus||$180,000|
|Fuel Cell Transit Bus||$400,000|
|Electric School Bus||$400,000|
|Electric School Bus (ARB non-compliant)||$380,000|
|Electric Shuttle Bus||$160,000|
Non-compliant school buses are vehicles that are not compliant with the ARB Truck and Bus Regulation. Eligible applicants include owners of transit, school, and shuttle buses. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first served basis. The program is funded by California’s portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including program guidance and application, see the ARB’s Volkswagen Settlement website.
Clean Vehicle Rebate - El Dorado County
The El Dorado County Air Quality Management District (EDC AQMD) offers rebates of up to $599 to residents toward the purchase or lease of a new zero emission vehicle (ZEV) or partial-ZEV, as defined by the California Air Resources Board. To qualify, vehicles must be owned or leased for at least three years within El Dorado County. For more information, see the EDC AQMD Grants and Incentives website.
Employer Invested Emissions Reduction Funding - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) administers the Air Quality Investment Program (AQIP). AQIP provides funding to allow employers within SCAQMD's jurisdiction to make annual investments into an administered fund to meet employers' emissions reduction targets. The revenues collected are used to fund alternative mobile source emissions and trip reduction programs, including alternative fuel vehicle projects, on an on-going basis. Programs such as low emission, alternative fuel, or zero emission vehicle procurement and old vehicle scrapping may be considered for funding. For more information, including current requests for proposals and funding opportunities, see the AQIP website.
Point of Contact
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Phone: (909) 396-3296
Heavy-Duty Truck Emission Reduction Grants - San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Truck Replacement Program, which provides funding for fleets to replace old vehicles with lower emitting vehicles or to purchase new zero emission, hybrid, or low oxides of nitrogen (NOx) vehicles. Funding is available for the following projects:
- Replacement of model year (MY) 2009 or older diesel trucks with new trucks that meet or exceed the 2010 NOx emissions standard;
- Replacement of MY 2010 or newer trucks with new zero emission, hybrid, or low-NOx trucks; and
- Purchase of new zero emission, hybrid, or low-NOx trucks.
Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Grant – Santa Barbara County
The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD) provides grants to offset the costs of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles that reduce on-road emissions within Santa Barbara County. Eligible projects include the replacement of commercial trucks and buses, transit buses, authorized emergency vehicle, transportation refrigeration units, and more. Eligible technology includes the purchase of battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. For more information, including current funding opportunities, see the SBCAPCD Clean Air Grants website.
Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Replacement Grant
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) offers grants for the replacement of eligible class 8 heavy-duty vehicles with ZEVs. Grants may cover up to 75% of non-government project costs and up to 100% of government project costs; up to $2,700,000 total. Eligible vehicles include freight trucks, drayage trucks, waste haulers, dump trucks, and concrete mixers. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The program is funded by California’s portion of the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust. For more information, including program guidance and application, see the California Air Resources Board’s Volkswagen Settlement website.
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Exemption
Compressed natural gas, hydrogen, electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles meeting specified California and federal emissions standards and affixed with a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Clean Air Vehicle sticker may use HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. Effective January 1, 2020, DMV issues Clean Air Vehicle stickers to first-time applicants that have a household income at or below 80% of the state median income. Stickers are valid through the following dates:
- Red stickers issued on or after March 1, 2018, for a vehicle that had previously been issued a sticker between January 1, 2017, and March 1, 2018, expire January 1, 2022;
- Purple stickers issued between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020, expire January 1, 2023; and,
- Orange stickers issued on or after January 1, 2020, expire January 1, 2024.
Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Grant - Bay Area
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s (BAAQMD) Clean Cars for All program offers grants up to $9,500 to income-eligible residents to replace a vehicle eligible for retirement with a PEV or FCEV. Eligible vehicles for replacement should have a model year 15 years or older than the current year. Recipients may buy or lease a new or used PEV or FCEV. Grants vary depending on the household income and vehicle technology. Vehicles that are replaced must be turned in at an authorized dismantler.Individuals that purchase an all-electric vehicle are eligible to receive up to $2,000 for the purchase and installation of a Level 2 electric vehicle supply equipment. For more information, including additional eligibility requirements and how to apply, see the BAAQMD Clean Cars for All website.
Plug-In Hybrid and Zero Emission Light-Duty Vehicle Rebates
The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) offers rebates for the purchase or lease of qualified vehicles. Qualified vehicles are light-duty battery electric vehicles (BEVs), fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved or certified. The rebates are for up to $4,500 for FCEVs, $2,000 for BEVs, $1,000 for PHEVs, and $750 for zero emission motorcycles. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals, business owners, and government entities in California that purchase or lease new eligible vehicles. Residents of San Diego County may be eligible for a preapproved rebate through the CVRP Rebate Now pilot. Manufacturers must apply to ARB to have their vehicles included in the CVRP.Individuals are eligible for the rebate based on gross annual income, as stated on the individual's federal tax return. Individuals with a gross annual income above the following thresholds are eligible for all rebates except those that apply to FCEVs:
- $150,000 for single filers
- $204,000 for head-of-household filers
- $300,000 for joint filers
Technology Advancement Funding - South Coast
The South Coast Air Quality Management District's (SCAQMD) Clean Fuels Program provides funding for research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects that are expected to help accelerate the commercialization of advanced low-emission transportation technologies. Eligible projects include powertrains and energy storage or conversion devices, including fuel cells and batteries, and implementation of clean fuels, including the necessary infrastructure. Qualified clean fuels include, but are not limited to, natural gas, propane, and hydrogen. Projects are selected via specific requests for proposals on an as-needed basis or through unsolicited proposals. For more information, see the SCAQMD Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment website.
Zero Emission Transit Funding
The California Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program offers vouchers of up to $50,000 for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, infrastructure, planning, outreach, and operations projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities. For more information, see the Clean Mobility Options website.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) and Near-ZEV Weight Exemption
ZEVs and near-ZEVs may exceed the state's gross vehicle weight limits by an amount equal to the difference of the weight of the near-zero emission or zero emission powertrain and the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system, up to 2,000 pounds. A ZEV is defined as a vehicle that produces no criteria pollutant, toxic air contaminant, or greenhouse gas emissions when stationary or operating. A near-ZEV is a vehicle that uses zero emission technologies, uses technologies that provide a pathway to zero emission operations, or incorporates other technologies that significantly reduce vehicle emissions. (Reference California Business and Professions Code 12725 and California Vehicle Code 35551)
Zero-Emission Transit Bus Tax Exemption
Zero-emission transit buses are exempt from state sales and use taxes when sold to public agencies eligible for the Low Emission Truck and Bus Purchase Vouchers. This exemption expires January 1, 2024. (Reference California Revenue and Taxation Code 6377)
More Laws and Incentives
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