Mark Panes cut his monthly gas bill to a quarter of what it was after learning about a pilot program in Southern California that ultimately helped him afford a battery-electric plug-in hybrid car.
Previously, he commuted in what he calls a “gas guzzler” — a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo — from North Hollywood to East Los Angeles. His 50-mile roundtrip commute cost him more than $240 every month. Once Mark got into a cleaner car in 2016, his monthly gas bill shrunk to just $60, saving him more than $2,000 in gas expenses that first year.
“The program has benefitted me very well,” Mark said. “In addition to helping the environment and saving a ton of money in gas, I’ve been able to use the HOV lane because of my car, which has saved me numerous hours on my commute.”
After submitting an application for funding from the Replace Your Ride program, administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, it took about a month to get into an environmentally friendly and more fuel-efficient car. Mark says it was easy with a case manager guiding him through the process to determine eligibility.
Mark qualified for $5,500 toward a plug-in hybrid and settled on a 2013 Chevy Volt. The scrap-and-replace program known as Replace Your Ride serves eligible residents of the South Coast air basin. It’s part of CARB’s Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP) and just one of many clean transportation projects using Cap-and-Trade dollars to provide incentives to help people get into eco-friendly vehicles.
A similar EFMP program is available to residents of the San Joaquin Valley, and new EFMP programs are expected to launch in the Bay Area and Sacramento region by the end of 2018.
Since Mark became the proud owner of a Chevy Volt, he landed a new job and moved to Glendale. He’s now just 10 minutes from work and has a charging station on site. He still takes long drives on the weekend to go cycling and snowboarding, but when he sticks close to home his gas bill can shrink to nothing.
“Overall, I’ve been very grateful for my earth-friendly car,” Mark says.