Agriculture

Air district will help replace old cars, trucks and tractors with cleaner models

JOAN BARNETT LEE/jlee@modbee.com
Weigh master James Cruickshank looks at a hole in a demolished front loader tractor. The tractor is pictured on Friday morning (01-18-13) at Modesto Junk Co. in Modesto, Ca. Modesto Junk Co. takes part in a valley air district program that helps farmers buy cleaner-burning tractors and well pumps. The district must verify that the old equipment is destroyed to assure that it does not go back into operation.
JOAN BARNETT LEE/jlee@modbee.com Weigh master James Cruickshank looks at a hole in a demolished front loader tractor. The tractor is pictured on Friday morning (01-18-13) at Modesto Junk Co. in Modesto, Ca. Modesto Junk Co. takes part in a valley air district program that helps farmers buy cleaner-burning tractors and well pumps. The district must verify that the old equipment is destroyed to assure that it does not go back into operation. Modesto Bee

Owners of old cars, heavy-duty trucks and farm tractors can get help in buying cleaner-burning models through funding announced this week.

The aid comes from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. It works to ease asthma, emphysema and other ailments in eight counties from San Joaquin south to Kern.

Owners of cars from 1999 or earlier can get up to $9,500 to replace them with gasoline-powered models that are more fuel-efficient or with hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles. The exact amount is based on the specific replacement vehicle and the applicant’s household income.

The program is part of the Drive Clean in the San Joaquin campaign, which has total funding of $30.3 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year, district spokesman Anthony Presto said. The campaign also includes a separate rebate program for electric vehicles and help with repairs that allow old cars to pass smog tests.

The funding comes from fees charged by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and from the state’s cap-and-trade program. The latter pays for efforts against climate change through fees on greenhouse gas emitters.

The air district also received $3.8 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help replace 100 farm tractors and 105 trucks in commercial fleets. The money will be combined with about $20 million from other district sources and from the farmers and fleet owners.

The $3.8 million is part of $9.6 million that the EPA awarded around California this week for cleaner school buses, airport shuttles, harbor tugboats and other projects.

“EPA is committed to improving air quality and advancing cleaner technologies to improve the quality of life for residents throughout California,” Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker said in a news release.

More information on the district programs is at www.valleyair.org or 209-557-6400.

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