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California asks classic car owners about driving habits after weighing ‘zero-emission zones’ to reach climate goals
Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

California asks classic car owners about driving habits after weighing ‘zero-emission zones’ to reach climate goals

The California Air Resources Board sent a survey to classic car owners last month asking drivers about their driving habits after previously weighing “zero-emission zones” in an attempt to combat climate change, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

In an August survey titled “2023 California Model Year 1978 Or Older Light-Duty Vehicle Survey,” the CARB asked owners of cars made in the model year 1978 or earlier about their driving habits, according to documents obtained by the DCNF.

The government agency sought information regarding how often the vehicles are driven and where.

“In which county is your MY 1978 or older vehicle primarily operated?” the survey asked, providing respondents with a list of cities.

Classic car owners were also asked to report the mileage of their vehicles.

“Approximately how many miles does your MY 1978 or older vehicle get driven in a year?” the questionnaire continued. “How often is your MY 1978 or older vehicle driven?”

Additionally, drivers were asked to specify how they store their vintage cars, including in a garage, carport, outside with a cover, or outside without a cover.

The CARB also wanted owners to provide information regarding any extended storage of the vehicles, including how full they keep the fuel tank and whether they add fuel stabilizer.

Upon completing the questionnaire, respondents were asked if they would be interested in participating in “a focus group to further discuss the topics related to questions asked in this survey.”

The DCNF reported that a 2019 draft report from the CARB suggested that the state was weighing “zero-emission zones,” which would restrict the use of certain vehicles in those designated zones.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists , zero-emission zones are “a policy tool available to cities to improve air quality, reduce congestion, raise revenue, and achieve climate goals.”

The International Council of Clean Transportation notes that zero-emissions vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists would have “unrestricted access” to these zones, while “other vehicles are either prohibited from entering or permitted to enter upon payment of a fee.”

The CARB’s 2019 draft report, “Assessment of CARB’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Programs Per Senate Bill 498 ,” stated, “Local governments currently do not have explicit authority or a uniform statutory framework to implement policies such as zero-emission zones, road-usage, or emissions-based pricing. These policies are likely to yield substantial local air quality benefits, could create new local revenue, and would send a strong signal to encourage the use of light- and heavy-duty [zero-emission vehicles].”

The draft suggested allowing local jurisdictions to establish zero-emissions zones “with equity considerations.”

Santa Monica was the first city in California to launch the country’s Zero-Emission Delivery Zone Pilot , a voluntary program that ran through December 2022. According to the CARB , the delivery zone had no enforcement mechanism.

“Local governments can provide incentives for electric mobility through pricing strategies such as zero- or low-emission zones that either allow qualifying ZEVs to drive in a specific geographic area for free or at reduced rates compared to conventional vehicles. These zones are established in cities throughout the world, but in California they must be approved by the Legislature unless they are voluntary. Pricing strategies to promote ZEV adoption should be mindful of equity considerations in program design and in investments funded by proceeds from pricing schemes,” the CARB’s website states.

The CARB did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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