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Air district cancels clean-vehicle program

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Posted: Monday, January 13, 2003 10:00 pm

A program to help people buy clean-air vehicles has been canceled because of looming state budget cuts.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District announced Monday it will no longer accept applications for its financial incentive program for clean-air vehicles.

The program offered up to $3,000 toward the purchase of light- and medium-duty vehicles, including electric, gas-electric hybrid or natural gas cars and trucks.

The district was able to pay for the program through state vehicle license fees, one of the areas of local funding that could dry up as Gov. Gray Davis attempts to balance the state budget, district education specialist Charlie Goldberg said.

The program was designed to help public agencies, businesses and individuals, he said.

"It was people who may have been sitting on the fence about buying this type of vehicle and this helped them make that choice," Goldberg said.

In the past two years, the air district has granted $750,000 toward the purchase of 374 vehicles in the San Joaquin Valley. Those included mostly hybrid cars like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. The district also helped buy eight electric and 22 compressed natural gas vehicles, plus 44 electric police bicycles.

People who applied for the funding to help buy a clean-air vehicle also committed to filing an annual report with the district so that district officials could record the pollution-reducing impacts of the program.

The district estimates the program would eliminate 21 tons of pollutants from the air in San Joaquin Valley, based on the lifetimes of the vehicles bought through the program. The district will continue to fund another incentive program that promotes clean-air technology for heavy-duty vehicles, off-road vehicles, locomotives, marine vessels and agricultural pumps.

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