View Full Version : Forget about Scrapping Cars; Scrap the Subsidies instead

04-21-2009, 05:33 PM
Here's a though provoking article out Monday's (4/20/09) Financial Times titled, Forget about Scrapping Cars; Scrap the Subsidies instead.

Over in Germany the Government is offering taxpayers cash rebates to turn in old cars in order to buy a new car. On the surface it sounds great, but as one will read, there is no 'reward' for buying a fuel efficient car vs buying an inefficient automobile.

One organization thoughtfully has asked, why not create a rebate to turn in an old car for a bicycle or public transport tickets?

If only our government would use the current crisis to do such a thing..turn in an old car, get a bike or free transit...


Forget about scrapping cars; scrap the subsidies instead

Published: April 20 2009 03:00 | Last updated: April 20 2009 03:00

From Mr Jos Dings.

Sir, Your editorial on car scrapping schemes (“Crushing problems”, April 14) was scathing, and accurate. However, your contention that “new cars tend to be better than old ones” is only partly true.

Although the European Union recently agreed new fuel efficiency standards for new cars, industry lobbying resulted in the targets being “phased in”, read postponed, until 2015. Progress over the last decade has been abysmal: the average car sold in Europe in 2007 guzzled just 1.7 per cent less fuel than the previous year’s model.

The wildly popular German subsidy scheme doesn’t even differentiate. That means a motorist who scraps a 1999 Volkswagen Lupo TDi 3L, the most fuel-efficient car ever mass-produced in Europe (2.99 litres per 100km, or 81g CO 2 per km) and buys a 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (14.9l/100km, 358g/km) would still receive the full taxpayer-funded payment.

Even if the hand-outs were designed to encourage owners of old gas guzzlers to trade in for a fuel sipper, that just rewards those who were irresponsible in the past.

VCD, a German environmental organisation (and member of T&E), has argued that the subsidies should also be available to those who want to scrap their old car for a bicycle or public transport tickets.

Supporters have been sending claim forms to the government department responsible for the car rebate scheme, who responded by threatening legal action. Nice. The bicycle industry, it seems, doesn't merit government support.

Meanwhile carmakers, which have spent decades overproducing and lobbying against fuel efficiency standards, do. That is absurd. Instead of scrapping cars, governments should scrap the subsidies.

Jos Dings,
Transport and Environment (T&E),
Brussels, Belgium

04-22-2009, 08:28 PM
Hey Cool! You know ORegon has done stuff like that - and actually successfully I think.

Caution however, the writer says nothing about the data on toxic air pollution, carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, diesel soot and a host of other carcinogens produced by older vehicles vs. new.

Vehicle emissions are one of the largest sources of toxic air pollution in the Portland area - Oregon's vehicle inspection program and recently enacted "LEV" Low Emission Vehicle laws are reducing these emissions. I think we save something like 170 tons of pollution PER DAY just by the mere fact everyone has to keep their car repaired properly in this area.

We're getting more options too. Cars that will get better gas mileage, alt fuels, electric, hybrid -- so why not speed this stuff along, huh? Let's get our clean air now.

Here's another way of looking at it:

This here's AMERICA and by golly if we wanna play effen PRICE IS RIGHT and find a way to give everyone a BRAND NEW CAR! then by golly we AIMS TA DO IT!

So the bike, transit coupon thing. Awesome. Oregon DEQ actually did a program like that about 5 years ago. It lasted 2 years and in that time something like 400 people traded in their polluter - and seriously DEQ tested every single one - they were bad. I personally am glad they are off the road. I had a chance to peek in on that program for a bit and talk with some of the applicants. They were stoked to be getting 500 bucks at the Bike Gallery or a TriMet AllZoneAllYear freedom pass! It was changing their lives because these were people who really couldn't afford to even own and maintain a car let alone make payments.

But they still needed to get to work yo! Sototally!

Lower vehicle emissions = healthier people = $$$

But I still don't see why if not done properly, coupon trade ins and subsidies can't coexist. I mean aren't they really the same thing... an incentive?