Toyota Drives in to Improve the Air Quality

Toyota Place announced Friday the launch of vehicle repair, retirement and replacement for motorists (VRRRM) program sponsored by the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

From a $20 million funding grant, the state program will be launched with an aim of improving air quality.

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The program aims to bring clean air and fuel efficiency benefits to California by repairing, retiring, and replacing 17,000 polluting cars and removing more than 850 tons of pollutants from California’s airways over the next three years.

Several government agencies have worked together in developing the VRRRM program 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.

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Toyota is also taking other major steps to ensure pollution-free environment. With its focus on the emerging demand for electric vehicles, the company has announced that coinciding with the arrival of the RAV4 EV in 2012, it will launch, in key global markets, the Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) and a small EV (Electric Vehicle) commuter vehicle. (Read: Toyota Plans to Produce New Electric Vehicles)

Toyota Place will be one of the first commercial locations promoting the clean air initiative and will be offering a cash incentive for participants.

“This is a significant step forward for California’s air quality,” said Paul Lanning, president and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges.

“This program represents a collaboration of multiple agencies involved in California’s air quality management. It will infuse much-needed funds back into the state’s economy while tapping into the educational and training resources of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher education in the world.”

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Through the year 2013, VRRRM (pronounced “vroom”) will provide incentives for motorists to repair, retire or replace their high-emitting vehicles, thereby reducing overall vehicle emissions.

Toyota Place will use VRRRM to supplement already-existing programs to add momentum to the fight for cleaner air. In addition, the program will involve student assistants at more than 30 different college sites who will aid with outreach to local communities through weekend events held on campuses.

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Rakesh Raman