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VRRRM program enhances air quality

Statewide program removes thousands of high-polluting vehicles from California roadways

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – February 21, 2013– A statewide program offering monetary incentives for motorists to repair, retire or replace their high-emitting vehicles has led to the repair or removal of over 14,000 automobiles that were otherwise contributing to poor air quality, resulting in 883 tons of pollutants being eliminated from California’s airways—the equivalent of removing over 100,000 passenger cars for a year from the roadways—over the past two years.

From October 2010 through last fall, the Vehicle Repair, Retirement and Replacement for Motorists (VRRRM) program resulted in the repair of 11,020 vehicles, and the removal of 3,263 of the highest emitting vehicles from California’s roadways. The results have been announced by the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation), which administered the program.

“Through the VRRRM program, the Foundation has helped make significant improvements to our state’s air quality while helping to stimulate the economy and provide workforce training to community college students, which are all important factors in improving California’s quality of life,” said Keetha Mills, President and CEO of the Foundation.  

While the program offered incentives throughout the state, particular emphasis was placed on the San Joaquin Valley and the South Coast Air Basin, which includes large portions of Los Angeles county. Air quality measurements indicate that these air basins are consistently plagued by the most severe air quality attainment issues in the state and nation.

The most significant impact was on the South Coast Air Basin, which includes all of Orange County, and the urban areas of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. In this region alone:
• 2,990 vehicles were retired or replaced; 
• 3,640 vehicles were repaired; and
• at least 400 tons of air pollution was eliminated in the region.

The VRRRM program was designed to supplement similar incentive programs that already existed in an effort to add momentum to the fight for clean air while increasing the number of California motorists eligible for such benefits. The Foundation for California Community Colleges operated and managed the program, and worked closely with several agencies that focus on air quality improvements, including the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

“The VRRRM program has demonstrated the profound impact organizations can make through collaboration and partnership,” John Wallauch, Chief of the Bureau of Automotive Repair.  “Rather than replacing similar programs already in existence, VRRRM placed special emphasis on complementing similar programs to increase the benefit to consumers, and increase the impact on California’s air quality. In the end, this resulted in greater results for our collective efforts.” 

In addition to the clean air benefits provided to California, the VRRRM program provided a significant economic benefit to the state. More than $17 million in rebates and incentives were provided to California consumers, infusing funds back into the state’s economy and helping consumers make the repairs needed to pass Smog Check, or purchase a replacement vehicle with improved emissions. 

The Foundation for California Community Colleges operated this program through a grant from the Reformulated Gasoline Settlement Fund. Created as a result of an antitrust class action, the purpose of the fund was to achieve a clean air or fuel efficiency benefit for California consumers.
For more information about the Foundation and its programs, visit


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