Old truck gets crushed in California's battle against climate change

An old truck gets crushed in California's battle against climate change

In a heavy metal display of its effort to get dirty cars off the road, state officials crushed a 31-year-old pickup truck outside the Capitol on Wednesday morning.

The Stockton family that turned in the truck left the event with a 2-year-old Toyota Prius, courtesy of a state program that provides rebates to help low-income families buy cleaner cars.

The $4.8-million program, one piece of a broader effort to battle climate change and improve air quality in California, is funded with cap-and-trade revenue and could put 600 cleaner cars on the road. More funding could be approved by the Air Resources Board this summer.

State officials said the majority of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions come from a relatively small number of older cars, and those vehicles are often owned by residents who can't afford new ones.

So with this program, they're trying to make clean cars available to Californians from poorer communities that often have larger problems with air quality. The Prius purchased by the Stockton family cost $22,500, which was mitigated by $9,500 in rebates and $12,000 in low-interest financing.

"Tackling climate change ... requires policies that touch all of California's communities," said Senate leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who worked on legislation to support the program.

"Rebates are not just for those who drive Teslas," he added.

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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