Electric Vehicles

How Are We Doing?

Electric vehicles (EVs) use received a thumbs-up because San Diego County's rebates per 10,000 residents continued to increase from 11.4 in 2017 to 15.3 in 2018, which is slightly higher than the California state average of 14.5 per 10,000 residents. This brings the total number of rebated vehicles to 69 per 10,000 residents in 2018, up from 55 in 2017.

In 2018, EVs could receive up to $7,500 worth of federal tax credits and $2,500 of standard state rebates. As EVs achieve a higher sales volume, federal tax credits start phasing out. Federal tax credits are worth up to $3,750 in 2019. Want to know more about what we're measuring?

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Improved more than 1 percent from 2017 to 2018

Data Sources: California Department of Finance, Population Estimates, 2018; Center for Sustainable Energy, California Air Resources Board Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Rebate Statistics, 2018

The rate of EV rebates through the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) continued to rise in San Diego County from 2017 to 2018, similar to other counties.

Why is it Important?

High quality of life means a clean environment, a thriving economy, and an equitable place for all to enjoy.

  • Transportation is California's largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and produces smog and air pollution that disproportionally affects low-income and priority populations. The more zero-emissions vehicles are on the streets, the better it is for clean air.
  • Each new EV on the road traveling an average of 12,000 miles per year avoided nearly 4.8 metric tons of GHGs in 2017, equivalent to switching 184 incandescent light bulbs to LEDs, or planting and growing 80 tree seedlings for 10 years.

Data Sources: California Department of Motor Vehicles, 2018

The total registered EVs per 10,000 people in San Diego County was 79 in 2018, slightly below the California average of 87, and lower than the 232 in Santa Clara County.

In California, of the 2 million new light duty (passenger cars and light duty trucks up to 14,000 lbs in weight) vehicle registrations in the first 9 months of 2018, 7.1% were EVs (battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric) compared with 6.4% in all 2017. California is leading EV sales in the U.S. Internationally, the EV leader is Norway, with 40% of new vehicle sales in 2018 being zero-emissions vehicles.

Regional Response


The state’s car scrap and replace program, called the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP) is a voluntary program providing incentives for lower income motorists who scrap their older, higher-polluting cars and replace them with newer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars. This reduces smog-forming pollutants (NOx and ROG) to help meet State and Federal air quality standards. EFMP has two programs - Retire only, and Retire and Replace or Plus-Up. Plus-Up can be combined with the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) to promote zero-emissions vehicles. These programs are currently available only in the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the South Coast Air Quality Management District jurisdictions. The San Diego Air Pollution Control District is still planning to bring the program to the region.


In April 2019, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher proposed that the County develop an Electric Vehicle (EV) Roadmap. This roadmap should develop strategies necessary to ensure the EV adoption across the County, identify funding sources for EVs and EV charging stations, and highlight opportunities for engagement. This proposal was supported unanimously by the County Board of Supervisors.

What Are We Measuring?

We measure electric vehicle (EV) adoption by tracking the number of new rebates from the CVRP per 10,000 capita in San Diego County and other urban counties annually. Secondary measurements include the total number of EVs registered and the share of EVs in total registered vehicles in San Diego County and other counties. Greenhouse gas emission reductions are estimated using California Air Resources Board emission factors and mileage assumptions and are reported in metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Emission reductions from EVs are in comparison to emissions from 2017 model year gasoline cars. Emission equivalency derived from the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. Learn more about the data.