Are you wondering what to do with your malfunctioning 1989 LeBaron? Are you stuck in traffic spewing gas out the tailpipe of a beat-up Datsun?
Then your provincial and federal governments want to hear from you.
The federal government announced last week that it is contributing $92 million in incentives to a National Vehicle Scrappage Program, which builds upon the B.C. Scrap-It program already operating in the Lower Mainland
Drivers with cars that were manufactured prior to 1996, when new environmental standards were introduced, are being asked to put those vehicles to rest in exchange for various incentives including public transit passes, bicycles, membership in car-sharing programs, or $300 cash.
The program is being initiated in an effort to reduce the level of greenhouse gases being emitted by cars.
A government news release on June 5 said that vehicles produced prior to 1996 account for as much as two-thirds of smog-forming pollutants caused by vehicle use, despite the fact that they only make up one-third of the vehicles on the road.
“1995 and older is when cars were 15 or 20 times more polluting
than they are today,” Chuck Strahl, Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Fraser
Canyon, said on a conference call. “I've heard this argument from car dealers,
who said the number one way to clean up the environment in terms of emissions
and greenhouse gases, is just to get the old clunkers off the road.”
Strahl said in a news release that the recycling of cars would
conform to standards under a National Car Recycling Code of Practice, though it
did not specify what standards those would be.
The national program has yet to be implemented, and until it is
the Government of Canada will contribute $3.4 million to B.C. Scrap-It, a
provincial program that was the first vehicle-scrapping program aimed at
getting old, licensed, insured and running vehicles off the road.
The provincial government announced in March that it would be
investing $15 million to expand the Scrap-It program across British Columbia,
money that has helped double the program’s biggest incentives to $2,000.
The B.C. Scrap-It program initially only took in vehicles
insured in the Lower Mainland and produced prior to 1993, but has since
expanded to accept vehicles produced in 1995 and earlier, according to Dan
Gilmore, a spokesman for the B.C. Ministry of Environment.
Once retired, a car’s tires and gas tank are removed and the
rest is shredded. No other parts of the car are removed for re-use or re-sale,
Financial incentives are calibrated to the amount of greenhouse
gases reduced by using a cleaner form of transportation, he added. The
government measures the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through a GHG
calculator developed by AirCare.
The Ministry of Environment said in its March announcement that
the program could scrap between 10,000 and 20,000 vehicles over a three-year
However, it added that if 15,000 cars were retired each year,
and each produced an average of three tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in a
year, then the program could reduce emissions by 135,000 tonnes over three
Nick Heap, an energy and climate policy analyst with the David
Suzuki Foundation, said that the auto sales market is seeing a fundamental
shift towards smaller cars.
“There’s a very, very definite shift away from SUVs and pickups
towards smaller and more compact vehicles,” he said. “The fleet that is being
purchased today seems to be significantly more fuel-efficient than those in the
As for the Scrap-It program, he said it will not result in reduced greenhouse gases on its own, but the trend towards smaller cars will contribute to lower emissions much more effectively.