The California Air Resources Board is reportedly considering a new plan to help transportation for low earners: buying them cars. The agency would like to give those of low income a voucher to buy energy-efficient vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, which has a sticker price of $21,000. The board currently gives drivers $1,000 to $1,500 to get rid of their older vehicles in an attempt to curb carbon emissions; there is a second program that gives up to $4,000 depending on the vehicles involved.
A new bill would up the minimum voucher to $2,500, and does not cap the upper limit for such vouchers. The CARB has even implied that it could sponsor the full purchase of an $18,000 for families of three looking to pick up a hybrid. Stanley Young, spokesman for the Air Resources Board, said that California should “make sure low-income people can also get into these clean vehicles.”
The federal cash for clunkers program was an immense failure, frontloading car purchases but doing nothing to truly spur demand for new vehicles. This program would have the ostensible goal of moving America’s auto industry toward more fuel efficiency; instead, it would redistribute income by subsidizing big business.