Cash for Clunkers

Tara Hornor
Written byTara HornorUpdated - October 19, 2023
Tara Hornor
Tara Hornor

Tara Hornor is an experienced writer and entrepreneur with over two decades of experien... | See full bio

John Rush
Edited and Fact-Checked byJohn RushEditor
John Rush
John Rush
Automotive Content Accuracy Auditor|||

With over four decades of experience, John Rush is a highly accomplished business owner... | See full bio

A Government Backed Program Works To Remove Old Clunkers Off the Roads

Are you or someone you know still driving an old, emissions unfriendly car in Southern California? Did you know that you could receive cash from the government for trading it in to purchase a more energy efficient model in Southern California? Apparently not many people knew about this pilot program that launched for the first time in 2010. The initiative was developed by the California Environmental Protection Agency, to help improve air quality by encouraging people to trade in their old clunkers, and purchase more energy efficient cars.

Initially 12,000 letters were sent out letting Californians know?they were eligible for funds, if they were willing to trade in their old cars. Since then, the state has paid out $1,000 to people, and a bit more was given to qualifying lower income participants, $1,500. As a whole, California has paid out to over 86,000 Californians to retire vehicles that fail a smog check.

According to a study done by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA), it was discovered that more than half of the air pollution in Southern California is caused by people driving cars with poor emissions, The statistics showed that 10-15% of the oldest cars still being driven cause half the pollution, according to this official pamphlet called, “No Californian Left Behind -?Clean and Affordable Transportation Options For All Through Vehicle Replacement” developed by CEPA.

It will take some time to see if the initiative is really helping the air pollution problem in Southern California, but there were some studies done before the initiative was started.

One research study done by CEPA is quoted as saying,

“In?the transportation arena, California has ambitious?policies in place to promote electric vehicles, expand?public transportation, and encourage long-term?smart-growth oriented development. These?low carbon,?future-directed strategies all have their part?to play in transforming California?s transportation?system; however, we believe they leave out a?critical slice of the California population: those in?car dependent,?low-income, mostly rural households.?

?Senate Bill 459 presents a perfect opportunity to put in place a strong vehicle retirement and replacement program that is informed by past experience and tailored to meet present needs. Such a program would slash smog-forming emissions, reduce oil use, decrease transportation costs, and improve safety, bringing the benefits of California?s ongoing energy and transportation revolution to all.?

The program is being temporarily taken out of commission while they revamp the plan, but look for it to return in 2015. The purpose will be to re-launch the program with more marketing behind it to encourage people to get their higher emissions cars off the road.

There is some uncertainty that the program so far has made a measurable difference. Because most of the cars that have been traded in aren?t even registered with the state, according to the CEPA study so there is some uncertainty about if these cars were even being driven on the road.

Of course there are naysayers who believe the program is developed solely to make the government feel like they are doing something positive to help the air pollution problem, but that the program itself won?t make much of an impact, and the cost far out ways the benefits.

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said of the replacement portion of the program.

?This is another example of a feel-good government program that fails miserably when measured for its effectiveness,? ?The overhead costs of programs like this always exceed the benefits confirmed from them.?

Perhaps Mr. Jarvis? words are true. More will be revealed when the new program re-launches and more studies can be done in the future. At least California is making an effort to keep cleaner cars on the road. Every little bit helps the environment, right?

Related Links

Legislative Info about the Effort – source

Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program source

California?Air Resources Board source

Private Pollution Study source

SB 913 source

Private Study of Low Income Drivers source

California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resource BoardStudy source

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association source

California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resource Board Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program – Car Scrap source





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