Press Release: No Californian Left Behind
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2014
NO CALIFORNIAN LEFT BEHIND
New Report from Next Generation Explores Transportation Challenges of California’s Low-Income, Rural Residents; Offers Solution to High Pollution and Gasoline Expenses
Download the full report at http://thenextgeneration.org/publications/no-californian-left-behind.
San Francisco CA – Low-income, rural Californians, whose older vehicles are responsible for a significant portion of the state’s air pollution, are at risk of being left behind even as California pursues a range of strong sustainable transportation initiatives, according to a new report out today from Next Generation.
The report, “No Californian Left Behind: Clean and Affordable Transportation Options for All Through Vehicle Replacement,” also found that Californians with older, poorly-maintained vehicles often spend well over a third of their income on gasoline and vehicle repair costs, and live in parts of the state with the worst air pollution in the U.S. The report release comes just ahead of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board's planned rewrite of the guidelines for the state’s vehicle retirement and replacement program, the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP).
“California has focused many of its flagship transportation initiatives on vehicle electrification and public transit,” said Cole Wheeler, Program Assistant at Next Generation and the paper’s primary author. “Those efforts are key to cleaning up California’s transportation sector, but not everyone can afford an electric car, or live close to transit corridors. We want to start a conversation in California that recognizes the degree to which many low-income residents depend on their cars, and could benefit from an effort to modernize what’s in their driveways.”
“The older cars you find throughout many parts of California are less safe, more expensive to maintain, and significantly more polluting than their more modern counterparts – even a five-year old car pollutes significantly less than a 20-year old car of the same make and model,” explained Jesse Morris, a visiting Research Fellow at Next Generation, on loan from the Rocky Mountain Institute. “The state of California has an opportunity to address these problems by helping families replace these cars with cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles – and in the process, help a lot of families save a lot of money on gasoline.”
The report recommends that California set stricter efficiency standards for replacement vehicles to ensure participants receive a significant reduction in fuel cost. It also urges the state to redesign EFMP implementation and outreach to make vehicle replacement more accessible to eligible California families.
“We hope officials in Sacramento will craft new retirement and replacement guidelines that can help car-dependent Californians reduce transportation costs while improving local air quality,” said Kate Gordon, Vice President of Next Generation and Director of the nonprofit’s Energy & Climate Program. “It’s essential that California, which has long been a leader in energy and transportation policy, provide every one of our residents and communities access to cleaner, less oil-dependent transportation options.”
According to the Air Resources Board, California’s transportation sector is responsible for 40 percent of the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions and over 70 percent of smog-forming emissions. Much of the state’s worst air pollution is clustered in a few regions, most notably the San Joaquin Valley and the greater Los Angeles area of the South Coast. California is also home to seven of the ten cities with the most smog pollution in the United States, according to the American Lung Association’s 2013 State of the Air report.
About Next Generation
Next Generation promotes solutions to two of the biggest challenges confronting the next generation of Americans: The risk of dangerous climate change and the threat of diminished prospects for children and families. Through the use of non-partisan research, policy development, and strategic communications, we identify strategies that help deploy clean, advanced energy technologies; we also work to ensure a level playing field from which today’s kids can build a brighter future.