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browncars.jpgSAN FRANCISCO - Gov. Jerry Brown said today that he will sign legislation extending a fee on vehicle registrations and tire sales in California to pay for programs designed to reduce emissions and promote alternative fuels.

Assembly Bill 8, by Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, will extend until 2024 a $3 increase in vehicle registration fees scheduled to expire in 2016.

Brown also said he will sign legislation providing money to the California Air Resources Board for programs to encourage the use of zero-emission and hybrid vehicles. Senate Bill 359, by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, includes $20 million for rebates to Californians who purchase a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle or battery or fuel cell electric vehicle.

"I can remember 35 years ago when solar energy was associated with, I don't know, bean sprouts and whatever else alternative people were doing in those days," Brown said at an event in San Francisco to promote electric vehicles. "Well, this is not alternative anymore."

Brown has made climate change a focus of his administration but has tangled frequently with environmentalists.

According to a legislative analysis, the Sierra Club objected to a provision of the Perea bill that would repeal the California Air Resources Board's authority to require oil refiners to assure the public availability of hydrogen fueling stations once a certain number of vehicles are on the road. Instead, the bill will require the California Energy Commission to spend as much as $220 million over the next decade funding the development of hydrogen stations.

Among the vehicles Brown looked over Monday was a red Smart car.

The governor said, "This looks like a good gubernatorial limousine."

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at an electric car event in San Francisco on Sept. 16, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders



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