Update: California passes law to encourage residents to go car-free

California enacted a bill that would give households a $1,000 tax credit if they have no registered vehicles.


On September 6, California enacted a bill into law that would give middle-and low income households (joint filers below $60,000 a year and single filers below $40,000 a year) households a $1,000 tax credit if they have no registered vehicles. 

While many states have passed subsidies for EV ownership, this tax credit is the first of its kind that subsidizes not having a car at all. It’s a major step forward in incentivizing households to lose the car and choose forms of transportation like walking, biking, and taking public transit- a decision that is sometimes tough but is beneficial to one’s health and the environment. If passed in other states, legislation like this could be a major factor in households deciding to leave their car behind- and to help households that are already carfree stay that way- especially if states decide to pass legislation that comes closer to the original version of the bill, which offered a $2,500 tax credit, with wider eligibility.

This law is just one in a host of active transportation bills that have passed this session in the California State house, including a law that prohibits parking minimums being imposed on housing that is within a half mile of a major public transit stop, a rule that cities must consider the safety of pedestrians and bikers in their planning, and a law that gives towns and cities greater flexibility to set their own speed limits- all of which would help make it easier for residents to take planet-friendly modes of transportation like walking, biking, and transit.

Mackenzie Brown

Global Warming Associate


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