The Benefits Of Scrapping Old Cars

Are vehicle buy-back programs reducing emissions?
October 12, 2004, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Older vehicles contribute disproportionately to overall air pollution.In 2000, the San Francisco Bay Area’s pre-1986 light-duty vehicles(cars and light trucks) accounted for about twelve percent of vehiclemiles traveled (VMT) by all light-duty vehicles. However, these oldervehicles contributed more than half the reactive organic gas (ROG)emissions—a component of smog—from all light-duty vehicles. Theproblem will not go away soon.

...Are vehicle buy-back programs reducing emissions? Yes—to some extent. The BayArea’s program is attracting older vehicles that are driven regularly, though not the mostheavily used ones. Most vehicles would have been driven for a few more years, and mostparticipants do replace the vehicles with newer, thus presumably cleaner, ones.It would be better if the program could attract higher-use vehicles. Lower-incomehouseholds that drive their older vehicles a lot are not participating as much as expectedand are unlikely to replace the vehicle with the least polluting, newest vehicles. Severaloptions could help reduce emissions from these older vehicles: offer to repair or retrofitvehicles as an alternative to scrapping; offer more money, perhaps on a sliding scalebased on income; tie the amount of the incentive to the emissions levels of the replacementtransportation; identify higher-use, higher-polluting vehicles through remotesensing and motor vehicle records and market the program to those car owners."

[Editor's note: The link below is to an 800 KB PDF.]

Thanks to PreservingtheAmericanDream Listserv

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Published on Monday, October 11, 2004 in University Of California Transportation Center
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