Canada, a large deposit of natural resources located above Minnesota, is attempting to remove 1% of its older vehicles from the road. By doing so, they hope to
stimulate their economy while damaging the environment "get Canadian's smog-causing, gas-guzzlers off the road." A $92 million budget has been set aside to provide people trading in old cars with $300 in cash or discounts on bicycles and public transportation. Texas instituted a similar program in January called "Drive A Clean Machine," though in true Texan style, the rebates are larger, offering up to $3,500 to drivers of vehicles at least 10-years old. Details and drawbacks after the jump.
The Texas program has already retired more than 11,000 vehicles. A family of four must make less than $63,000 a year in order to qualify for the program and their vehicle must fail an emissions test after being driven there under its own power. Drivers intending to buy a car or truck receive a $3,000 voucher, while those that want to buy a hybrid receive $3,500. Only vehicles costing less than $25,000 and that are on a state-approved list qualify for the vouchers. California has had a similar program for some time, but still estimates that by 2010 about 30 percent of its vehicles will be at least 13 years old.
The problem with these programs is they aim to retire old, but perfectly serviceable cars. In many cases, those older, lighter, smaller models will actually be getting the equivalent economy of their portlier, newer counterparts. Assuming some participants use the payment to put towards a new vehicle, the overall program could actually increase carbon footprints rather than reducing them; after all, there are energy and materials required to produce and ship a new car. While the newer vehicle will produce fewer emissions, it will need to be driven tens of thousands of miles before the difference in pollution between it and an older car makes up for the energy used in the new car's production. [Via The Detroit News]