Climate Action Plan - Measure T-3.3

Develop a Local Vehicle
Retirement Program

Newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles produce less emissions than older vehicles. The County has developed a program to offer financial incentives to encourage residents or businesses in the unincorporated county to retire passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks, including sports utility vehicles and vans, model year 1996 or older. 
  • 2020 Target: Develop a local vehicle retirement program
  • 2030 Target: Retire 1,600 late-model vehicles (model year 1996 or older) in the unincorporated county

Where are we going?

The County supports cleaner vehicles, healthy air, and energy resilience. In order to achieve these economic and environmental benefits, the County aims to retire 1,600 vehicles with a model year of 1996 or older by 2030 in the unincorporated county. In 2020, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) developed a program that offers financial incentives to encourage owners to retire older, less fuel-efficient vehicles. Program information can be found here. In 2022, the program replaced 16 vehicles.

How is this measured?

The Air Pollution Control District will examine applications for the program and select candidates that qualify for incentives. The County calculates reductions of air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions based on the engine type of the retired vehicles and their replacements.

Why is this important?

The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gas emissions, heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere that cause climate change and disruption. Removing older, less-fuel efficient vehicles from the roads leads to far fewer emissions from fossil fuels, thus preventing harmful air pollution, and helping the County meet climate action goals. Cash incentives provide drivers with resources to invest in newer, and more fuel-efficient vehicles including electric cars. This measure is part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with automobiles. Relatedly, the County Board of Supervisors approved an Electric Vehicle (EV) Roadmap in October 2019 which presents strategies for increasing conversion to EVs and installation of new EV infrastructure throughout the unincorporated county. Accelerating development of regional EV charging infrastructure will make it more attractive for people to drive an EV and further contribute to a cleaner regional fleet of automobiles.