SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Motor Car Dealers Association (CMCDA) has commended Governor Schwarzenegger for signing into law the fleet modernization program in Assembly Bill 118 by Assembly Speaker Nuñez.

The program was included by the California Air Resources Board in its 2007 State Implementation Plan (SIP) and will play a vital role in cleaning California’s air.

Fleet modernization is the voluntary retirement of older cars and trucks in a state-sanctioned program, where scrapped vehicles can be assured of permanent retirement. Natural turnover of older vehicles and equipment is approximately one to five percent per year. The SIP calls for 40,000 additional annual vehicle retirements over the next several years. AB 118 will provide the necessary funding and flexibility to make fleet modernization successful in California, according to CMCDA.

By 2010, approximately 5.8 million California vehicles will be at least 15 years old. These older vehicles will represent about 25 percent of the vehicle fleet, but will account for 75 percent of the pollution from automobiles. Although California has the cleanest new vehicle fleet in the world, older cars and trucks are the largest contributors to the poor air quality in places like Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley.

“While the state’s new car dealers would be happy to sell a brand new vehicle to every Californian, the modest goals of an effective enhanced fleet modernization effort merely require consumers to slightly upgrade their vehicles to newer, less polluting cars,” said Peter Hoffman, CMCDA Chairman. “Although many of us recoil at the prospect of yet another fee increase, a modest hike is justified for fleet modernization because it gives the best bang for the buck — the most air quality improvement at the lowest per unit cost — and will directly benefit all Californians.”