CARB 2018–19 Funding Plan for Clean Transportation Could Do More for NGVs

While CARB’s approved $483 million 2018–19 Funding Plan for Clean Transportation Incentives supports NGVs, it does not provide all the features that the Coalition pressed for.

The plan provides $180 million total for clean truck and bus vouchers and the Zero- and Near-Zero Freight Facilities Project, which includes $125 million for HVIP and low-NOx engine incentives. Of that, CARB staff allocated $25 million for low-NOx engine incentives, estimating that the plan will fund 520 natural gas engines.

CARB increased truck voucher amounts to $45,000, a bump of $35,000 or $5,000 depending on engine size. But the new amount is less than what it will take to motivate fleets to buy new heavy-duty NGVs, the Coalition believes.

The voucher for new medium-duty vehicle purchases increased from $35,000 to $45,000 for trucks with the Cummins Westport L9N 8.9-liter near-zero-NOx natural gas engine; however, transit and refuse fleets are no longer eligible unless replacing diesel-powered refuse trucks. Repowers of trucks and buses with the L9N engine are also eligible for the $45,000 voucher.

Both new and repowered heavy-duty vehicles with the Cummins Westport ISX12N 11.9-liter near-zero-NOx natural gas engine are also eligible for $45,000 vouchers, up from $40,000.

“We’re glad to see additional incentive money for natural gas trucks, but $45,000 isn’t enough to stimulate the purchase of new heavy-duty NGVs,” said Coalition President Thomas Lawson. “We’ll continue to seek increased voucher amounts in the future.”

The $45,000 voucher amount is more suitable for the smaller, less expensive 8.9-liter engine than for the larger, more expensive 11.9-liter engine. The Coalition’s letters to CARB are posted on the Public Comments page.

The 2018–19 Funding Plan prioritizes investments in disadvantaged and low-income communities. Highlights include $75 million for transportation equity projects, including incentives for purchasing zero- or near-zero-emission cars, and $28.6 million for Air Quality Improvement Program–funded heavy-duty vehicle investments. California’s cap-and-trade program contributes $455 million to the plan, and $28 million comes from the Air Quality Improvement Program.