Electric car chargers. Courtesy UC San Diego

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday unanimously approved a program to help lower-income residents who want a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

“Clean Cars 4 All,” a cap-and-trade funded program created by Assembly Bill 630, provides between $5,000 and $9,500 to people who qualify to buy a low- or zero-emission vehicle, according to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s office.

Qualifying residents may also use the money for public transportation options, car sharing, bike sharing or to purchase an electric bicycle.

Air quality districts in the South Coast, Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley are participating in the program.

An estimated $5 million is available for the San Diego Air Pollution Control District for the program, said Fletcher, who added there will be no costs to the county. All the county has to do is opt in, Fletcher said.

“I believe we have an obligation to increase the well-being of our residents,” he added.

According to a letter from Fletcher’s office, the Air Pollution Control District will have to work out plan details, including a budget, and contracting for auto inspections, website development and partnerships with auto dealers.

Several proponents spoke in favor of Clean Cars 4 All, including Escondido resident Mike Cosgrove, who is also a member of the Electric Vehicle Association of San Diego.

Cosgrove told the board that regional air quality and transport options in San Diego County have improved since the 1970s.

“Your efforts do have an impact,” he said.

–City News Service