By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach
A new California bill will pay residents $1,000 for NOT owning a car. SB457 has been proposed as a way to reduce traffic congestion and save the state money.
While the bill may sound like a great idea on the surface, there are some serious concerns about it. For one, the $1,000 payment would not be enough to cover the cost of car ownership. Additionally, the bill would penalize people who live in areas with high traffic congestion.
California has no mass transit system that covers the whole state but yet they want residents to not drive their cars and take the bus, train, or subway that most likely doesn’t exist. Last week, California and 17 states declared they are planning to ban the sale of gas-powered cars and want you to buy electric cars.
However, California is having trouble keeping the lights on during this summer’s heat dome. Officials have asked that electric car owners not charge their cars due to the state’s energy shortage (a Level Two Grid Alert), which could create real-life issues due to rolling blackouts.
What is a California flex alert? Set your thermostat at 78° or higher, avoid using major appliances, turn off unnecessary lights, and avoid charging electric cars!
Think about this: If people can’t drive to work to improve their financial position, how will forcing them not to drive improve their lives? It doesn’t.
Is this the new energy policy for California? I hope not! California also decided it would not be wise to close down the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant because if they did there would be even more widespread blackouts.
This bill essentially incentivizes not owning a vehicle, by providing a $1,000 tax credit for single filers making up to $40,000 per year; $60,000 for joint filers. While it looks good on paper for residents, it doesn’t come across that way once you hear that this incentive is a very scaled-back version of what was originally proposed.
Originally, the bill was promoted to give $2,500 to all residents, and there was no income cap. Even those that had fewer cars than household members would be eligible for the tax break. Politicians compromised with some lawmakers in order to pass this bill. Some even go so far as to assume that an extra grand in residents pockets eventually be used for local transit, like LA’s Metro.
Not everyone is happy with SB457. Residents complained on Reddit and other social media platforms. One Los Angeles resident said they appreciate the effort, but giving people money for not having a vehicle is basically a wash when a lot of transit systems aren’t even good, and with other factors at play, like high housing costs that force people to commute longer distances than California public transit can handle.
One post stated, “$1,000 isn’t even close to enough to pay for the extra time one would spend on public transit vs. a privately owned vehicle. Even gridlocked rush hour traffic is going to move faster than most public transportation arteries, plus there’s the bonus of going door-to-door in your own car, instead of having to cover that last mile some other way.”
In another post: “It won’t even cover the monthly transit pass in San Diego. This will just screw over poor people who don’t understand opportunity cost.”
California is implementing absurd regulations and rules, while state officials are doing everything they can to bring down the state’s emissions, even though the grid isn’t quite up to the task of handling all those EVs. The initiative is one among several climate measures the state has passed in recent weeks. It’s important to note that low-income people are less likely to work from home, which could make ditching the car more challenging.
While some lower-income Californians may be able to pivot to public transportation, the state’s public transportation has long been criticized and described by some as underfunded, inaccessible, unsafe, and even flat out “the worst.”
The anti-fossil fuel movement wants to replace energy sources with solar and wind and that doesn’t work, so you have shortages and black outs.
They also believe that electric cars are not fossil fuel vehicles, even though all the plastics, minerals and vegan leathers are made with fossil fuels. The limited 18 percent of EV’s on the road in today in California has led to more demand than supply and the results are right now: not enough electricity, and more brownouts.
This is a basic cause and effect–if you artificially suppress the supply that leads to increased prices and a negative impact on the economy. California’s policies will only cause more problems.
There is so much more to discuss on this, put your comments below and let’s start the conversation.
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Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news, and safety issues.
Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Local Now News, Community Digital News, and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show on ABC.com with Paul Brian called “His Turn – Her Turn” and hosts regular radio segments on USA Radio – DayBreak.
Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of the Buffalo Motorcar Museum and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.
Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @LaurenFix.