ARB Approves Rules For Voluntary Vehicle-Retirement Programs
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO – The California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB) today approved regulations covering voluntary vehicle-retirement programs that reduce air pollution through the purchase of older automobiles and light-duty trucks.
"Vehicle-retirement programs give Californians the opportunity to reduce air pollution by voluntarily selling older vehicles that they no longer need," ARB Chairman Barbara Riordan said. "These regulations will help ensure that local vehicle-retirement programs contribute to cleaner air without unduly affecting car collectors and those who rely on older vehicles for transportation."
In a vehicle-retirement program, a motorist chooses to sell a qualifying older vehicle to a private auto-scrappage business operating under the oversight of a local air pollution control district. After retiring the vehicle, the scrappage operator receives emission credits that can be purchased by the air district; or, in some cases, local businesses; or ARB, depending on available funding.
The ARB regulations will apply to a major vehicle-retirement program planned for Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire. ARB last month began a two-year pilot program in the region to gauge the effectiveness of a large-scale program. Depending on the outcome of the pilot project and the availability of funding, a large-scale retirement program could be conducted through the year 2010.
In addition, the ARB regulations will pertain to local air districts that choose to operate vehicle-retirement programs. At present, there are small-scale programs operating in Greater LA, the Bay Area, San Diego and the San Joaquin Valley. A program in Santa Barbara is expected to begin in early 1999. The regulations do not require air districts to operate a program, and they do not affect traditional auto-dismantling operations that take place outside of official vehicle-retirement programs.
To be eligible for purchase by a retirement program, a vehicle must pass an inspection verifying that it is in good working order. Scrappage operators cannot salvage or resell parts from a vehicle sold to a retirement program. The regulations specify how to calculate emission credits based on the air-quality benefits of retiring the vehicle. The regulations also allow desirable vehicles to be purchased by members of the public, as long as no emission credits are generated for those vehicles.
"Vehicle-retirement programs can be effective because individual vehicles become dirtier over time and because automotive technologies have become progressively cleaner over the years," Riordan said. "California vehicles from the 1980s were designed to be more than 80 percent cleaner than early-1970s vehicles. And early-1990s vehicles were designed to be about 35 percent cleaner than 1980s vehicles. Accelerating the turnover of these vehicles can benefit air quality."