The Bay Area Air District will pay you up to $ 9,500 to trade in your old car for an electric one. Here’s how.


Tired of that old jerk? Ready to throw it in for a sleek new hybrid or electric car? Or even an electric bike?

Bay Area air officials on Wednesday announced a new round of funding for a program that pays residents up to $ 9,500 to trade in older vehicles and replace them with newer, cleaner vehicles .

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has $ 8.3 million in new funding from the state to expand its Clean Cars for All program. The idea is to make it easier for people with modest means to buy electric and hybrid vehicles, thereby reducing pollution, especially in neighborhoods that receive high amounts.

“Not only is transportation the biggest source of air pollution in the Bay Area, it accounts for 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Cindy Chavez, a Santa County supervisor. Clara who is also chair of the air district board of directors.

And although the Bay Area, like much of California, has seen smog levels drop steadily over the past 50 years as environmental regulations have reduced pollution from factories, cars, and power plants, there are still many communities with high levels of asthma and other respiratory problems. diseases, especially those near highways, oil refineries and other sources of pollution.

In the past, electric vehicles were beyond the reach of many low-income people.

“If we are to be able to solve this problem, we have to include low-income communities,” Chavez said.

An old car from the 1970s or 1980s can emit as much exhaust pollution as 50 modern vehicles.

The Air District has two high profile programs to replace older vehicles. The first, known as the Vehicle Buy-Back Program, pays Bay Area residents $ 1,200 to scrap their car, SUV or light truck. Vehicle must be in running order and be a 1997 model or older. People who take the money can spend it for whatever they want.

Since 1996, this program has retired more than 90,000 cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs. For every pre-1997 vehicle removed from Bay Area roads – vehicles that lack modern emissions controls – an estimated 75 pounds of air pollution is prevented from being emitted into the air each year.

To learn more about this program or to register, visit

The other program, which was relaunched on Wednesday, has been around since 2019 in the Bay Area but ran out of funding until Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the new state budget in recent weeks. This program, known as Clean Cars For All, is funded with money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires polluting industries to purchase permits to release greenhouse gases, then uses the money to fund programs to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.

The Clean Cars For All program pays $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 for people who wish to purchase a used or new hybrid vehicle, provided it is no more than eight years old. Grants for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles range from $ 5,500 to $ 9,500. This is in addition to federal and state tax credits and discounts available on the purchase of many zero-emission vehicles. Air District grants of $ 7,500 are also available for transit passes, e-bikes and carsharing.

To be eligible, residents must live in the Bay Area and meet income criteria. Singles earning $ 51,520 per year or less are eligible. The limit for a family of four is $ 106,000 per year.

Entrants must also live in one of 76 Bay Area zip codes selected by the Air District. These communities include areas with higher levels of air pollution and other factors, such as lower household income or education. They include parts of Oakland, Richmond, San Jose, Redwood City, San Francisco, and other areas among the Bay Area’s 176 total zip codes.

Individuals participating in this program must return a vehicle of the 2005 model year or older, registered in the Bay Area for two years and running. The funding they receive from the Air District must be used to purchase an electric, hybrid or other car, electric bicycle, or transit passes. For more information or to register, visit

An Oakland nonprofit, GRID Alternatives, is also helping those interested in the program. You can reach him at 855-256-3656 or [email protected]

“The benefits of renewable energy – clean air, good jobs, reduced fuel and energy costs – shouldn’t be reserved for the privileged,” said Arthur Bart-Williams, executive director of GRID Alternatives.

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