In an effort to clean the Californian air, Access Clean California connects residents with programs that make purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) more affordable.
With more than 90 percent of residents breathing unhealthy air caused primarily by cars, Access Clean California is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. Bad air quality is a characteristic that Kern County resident’s are all too familiar with as Bakersfield took the number one spot for most polluted city by year round particle pollution.
“Kern County residents, especially those living in underprivileged areas, are continuously exposed to pollution whether it be in the air, water, etc.,” Elizabeth Perez, community organizer at Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN), said in an interview. “By introducing electric vehicles, the amount of pollution coming from gas powered cars would significantly reduce.”
In 2019, Kern County had 2,787 zero emission vehicles (ZEV) registered in the county – only 0.48 percent of the total cars registered. With California implementing a goal to have 1.5 million clean vehicles on the roads and highways by 2025 and Governor Newsom ordering state officials to ban new gasoline cars within 15 years , finding ways to make the process both accessible and affordable is imperative.
Infusing more electric vehicles into the Kern County provides more than just individual benefits, though, as it provides the United States with greater diversity for fuel type options. Not only can EVs reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change, they can also dampen our reliance on petroleum, which makes us vulnerable to price spikes and supply disruptions.
“So introducing Hybrid vehicles and full electric vehicles – it’s really revolutionary,” Gustavo Aguirre Jr., Kern County Director at CCEJN, stated. “So now with Toyota, with Ford, with Chevy coming out with fully electric vehicles and planning full electric vehicles mass production in the future is, for us, a light at the end of the tunnel that our air pollution problem can be addressed.”
Although clean energy technology and electric vehicles can be costly upfront, they save consumers a lot of money over time. For this reason, the State of California created various different programs in order to help residents afford making the switch from gas to electric. With Access Clean California, residents are able to make sure they get all of the monetary benefits (rebates, grants, loans) they qualify for using the site’s benefits finder.
Finances and cost savings have proven to be significant motivators in making the switch, and EVs have the potential to help drivers save thousands on gas, maintenance, and even with tax incentives. “Even though I’m paying more per month on my car loan, I’ll break even with how much I drive on gas savings in about 3.5 years, which I plan to keep the car for significantly longer than that so I’ll be saving money there,” Jonathan Ponce, a Bakersfield resident and Tesla Model Y Longe Range owner, said.
By accessing Access Clean California’s website, interested parties have the ability to research the different types of EVs to see which kind is best for them. Despite not being open to the public, those interested in using Access Clean California’s benefits finder will still be able to log in using the public log in credentials provided to Kern Sol News.