CARB offers up to $35,000 for CA-registered truck trade-ins

| 6/15/2009

At first blush, it sounds like a sweet deal. But California owner-operators are offering mixed reactions to a new program that will provide a cash voucher for a heavy-duty clunker.

To get the money for your old truck, you have to buy a new one. Some truckers don’t have the additional money right now to invest in a new truck and some simply don’t want to give up their old truck.

The California Air Resources Board recently announced the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Attainment Program on-road heavy-duty vehicle Voucher Incentive Program, or VIP.

Owners of small truck fleets with at least one older truck registered in California may be eligible for vouchers to pay part of the cost of a new truck.

The voucher program provides between $20,000 and $35,000 toward the purchase of a new truck, if the truck owner turns in 1993 model year engine trucks or older and meets other qualifications.

The voucher would go toward the purchase of a new or used 2007 or newer model year vehicle with a California-certified engine purchased through a participating dealership. The old vehicle must be destroyed.

“Funding assistance for clean trucks is key to quickly reduce diesel emissions in one of the busiest trade corridors in the state,” CARB Chairman Mary Nichols said in a statement.

Truckers are viewing the program skeptically.

Chuck Prigge is a maintenance manager with California-based Sandvik Trucking, which is owned by longtime OOIDA Members Bill and Marie Sandvik.

Sandvik Trucking has 24 trucks in working condition.

Prigge said his company has applied for grant programs through CARB but hasn’t ever gotten equipment funding.

Prigge said that maintaining older trucks allows trucking companies to withstand economic downturns and poor freight rates.

“We’re about 95 percent free and clear with our equipment,” Prigge told Land Line. “I seriously doubt they’re going to give you what the truck’s worth. It would be a tough call to say whether or not it’s worth it.”

CARB estimated that at least $14 million is available for VIP funding.

More information is available here.

VIP participants can include:

  • Owners and operators of fleets with one, two or three heavy-duty diesel vehicles of which the oldest truck is 1993 or older model year diesel engine;
  • The oldest truck must be registered with the DMV with a declared gross/combined gross vehicle weight range greater than 60,000 pounds;
  • The truck also must have operated more than 30,000 miles per year or consumed 4,700 gallons of diesel fuel per year in each of the two previous years; and
  • The old vehicle must be operational and registered in California for each of the last two years (partial registration for three months per year are eligible).

VIP participants must agree to operate the new truck at least 75 percent of the time within California for three years, register the replacement vehicle in California with the DMV with a declared gross/combined gross vehicle weight rating greater than 60,000 pounds, and allow CARB to verify registration and inspect the vehicle for three years.

They also must agree to return annual usage surveys as requested.

If the replaced truck is in operation by Dec. 31, 2009, and is 1990 or older, the owner is eligible for $35,000 in voucher funds. A 1991 through 1993 truck is eligible for a $30,000 voucher.

Replaced trucks in operation by the end of 2010 are eligible for $25,000 for engine model years 1990 or older, and $20,000 for trucks with engine model years 1991 through 1993.

CARB’s programs may help many larger fleets that have quick truck turnover, said veteran truck driver and older truck owner Aaron Bento of San Luis Obispo. But Bento said he won’t be participating.

“Until they pry it from my fingers, they’re not getting it,” he said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer