The California Energy Commission (CEC) is providing an additional $26 million for appliance rebates to get consumers to replace inefficient appliances, and an added $10 million to convert passenger and heavy duty vehicles to run on alternative fuels, including liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Another $37.4 million will come from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) stimulus package funds that the CEC is helping administer, the CEC said.

In a statewide “Cash for Appliances” program, the CEC said 26,000 applications totaling $26 million are still available. So far, $5.6 million in rebates have been received. The program will continue through May 23, provided funds remain available, a CEC spokesperson said.

Separately, the energy commission announced that it has approved $10.1 million in grants for the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) under the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel Vehicle Technology program. Funds will be used to demonstrate plug-in hybrid electric technology for a board range of vehicles and to replace 180 heavy-duty diesel trucks hauling goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which have a massive effort ongoing to clean up the region’s worst source of air pollution, the two adjacent harbors.

Calling the potential to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions “impressive,” CEC Vice Chair James Boyd said the Southern California coastal air basin “is one of the worst in the nation for quality.” Boyd said the CEC-approved programs specifically address this area.

The South Coast AQMD will use the funding to build a plug-in hybrid system consisting of 107 fleet vehicles, including trucks, aerial life utility trucks and shuttle buses for statewide testing and demonstration. The effort will include deploying a “smart” system of vehicle charging stations.

In the port program, the trucks in existing private sector fleets will run on LNG. “The new LNG trucks will eliminate 1.47 million gallons of diesel fuel annually used by the old trucks,” the spokesperson said.

In the appliance cash rebate program, the CEC is partnering with more than 80 major retailing outlets and more than 40 official partners from the private sector to assist consumers with appliance purchases, the recycling of the old appliances and completing rebate application packages. Consumers can qualify for a rebate when they purchase a qualified highly energy efficient appliance, properly recycle their old one and submit a complete application within 30 days of purchase to the CEC.

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