Can Smog Repairs Create Social Justice? The Tune In & Tune Up Smog Repair Program in the San Joaquin Valley

Research Team: Gregory Pierce (lead) and Rachel Connolly

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: Light-duty vehicles represent a substantial contributor (10-15%) to the historical non-attainment of government standards for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases, in the San Joaquin Valley, yet the relationship between transportation access and environmental justice in the Valley has been under-studied. The Polluting Automobile Scrap and Salvage Program, operated by Valley Clean Air Now (Valley CAN) on behalf of the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District, sponsors Tune in & Tune Up events across the Valley. The program has provided smog checks and rebates vouchers for repairs, many of which are previously unregistered, for qualifying vehicles to Valley residents since 2006. Through these events, more than 50,000 cars have been evaluated for smog repairs, over 60% of which have completed smog repairs after receiving a voucher from the program. Eligible participants in Tune In & Tune Up events may receive up to a $850 voucher for smog repairs once a year, with the $5 million in annual funds derived from enhanced Department of Motor Vehicles fees charged by the air district as part of its status as an extreme non-attainment district. The program has arguably been the only, and certainly the largest, transport-related assistance program relevant to low-income households in the state.

Project Description: Using data from 13,000 households in the smog repair component of the Polluting Automobile Scrap & Salvage (PASS) program, this project explores the effectiveness of the Tune In & Tune Up program, in terms of abating criteria pollutants, and distributing financial and environmental benefits to disadvantaged communities within the valley, as well as increasing the rate of registered vehicles statewide.

Status: Completed

Budget: $40,000

Policy Brief(s):