MINISTRY VEHICLES: How California Policy Could Affect Your Church

Christian Law Association to take action to help protect the historic rights of churches to use their buses in reaching others with the Gospel. 

California regulations imposed on owners of diesel-fueled buses and trucks will soon require California churches and other non-profits to make expensive changes to older buses, making it a possibility their bus outreaches may be destroyed unless exempted from the regulations. This crisis prompted Christian Law Association to take action to help protect the rights of churches to use their buses in reaching others with the Gospel.

Statement of the Issue

California Air Resources Board’s Truck and Bus regulations designed to significantly reduce diesel emissions apply not only to commercial vehicles, but also to privately and publicly owned school buses that weigh 14,000 pounds and above.

The regulations require owners of these buses to begin installation of exorbitantly expensive engine retrofits by January 1, 2012, and to have replaced all older vehicles starting in 2015.

By 2023, nearly all buses that weigh over 14,000 pounds must have 2010 model year engines or equivalent.

Impact on California Churches and Nonprofits

The regulations do not exempt church- and nonprofit-owned buses.

Churches and nonprofits may need to pay over $35,000 per bus to comply.

Most church and nonprofit buses have a much lower annual use than vehicles used for commercial purposes.

Government grants are not available for low-use vehicles.

Churches and nonprofits use their buses to transport disadvantaged inner-city children and youth, without charge, to educational and worship activities and to provide social services to California citizens.

Churches and nonprofits operate their buses with no commercial or government funding.

How Can You Help?

Churches and other nonprofits offering transportation, educational, religious, and other social services at no charge to California citizens need the exemption from the California Truck and Bus Regulations that will cripple, if not kill, these nonprofits’ charitable outreaches.

Your support of the exemption petition to the Air Resources Board will carry great weight with the Board and demonstrate your recognition of the invaluable services churches and nonprofits provide to California citizens.

Write a strong letter of support in favor of the exemption petition to the Air Resources Board for low-mileage (under 10,000 miles per year), diesel-fueled vehicles owned by churches and other nonprofits.

If you will help, please:

1.   Address and Mail the letter to:

      Clerk of the Board

      Air Resources Board

      1001 I Street

      Sacramento, California 95814


2.   Send a copy of the letter to the person who is the state contact for this exemption effort:


      Pastor Jerry Vargo

      First Baptist Church of Long Beach

      1000 Pine Avenue

      Long Beach, CA 90813