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

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

Gregory Pierce and Rachel Connolly

This report examines the performance of the Tune In & Tune Up (TI&TU) smog repair program, which has operated since 2005 in the San Joaquin Valley and is one of the largest light duty vehicle programs to take both environmental and equity considerations into account. The program has taken a community organizing approach to improving regional air quality by targeting for repair high-emitting light-duty vehicles in state-designated disadvantaged communities.  Using a variety of descriptive statistics and econometric methods, this report reviews and analyzes internal TI&TU program data from 2012 to 2017, conducting a thorough evaluation of the program with regard to program efficiency, equity, and environmental impact.  

The analysis demonstrates that the TI&TU program effectively and efficiently reduced emissions, and distributed benefits to the neighborhoods most in need in the SJV. These findings indicate that TI&TU can be used as a model for implementation in other areas of the state or country that are expected to implement regional light-duty vehicle emission reduction programs that satisfy specific equity, efficiency, and environmental objectives. This model is particularly promising in regions that are unable to build public transit infrastructure or provide incentives for clean vehicle purchases to meet the travel needs of a substantial proportion of their low- to moderate-income residents.