Clunkers Replaced !?

Clunkers Replaced !?
Clunkers Replaced !?

It has been five years since the previous administration issued a directive banning old, polluting vehicles from the streets, but it has yet to take effect.

Criticizing the lack of progress in the scrappage program, Vahid Hosseini, director of Tehran Air Quality Control Company, said, “Initially, owners of old vehicles were given a discount voucher in exchange for their clunkers (to help them purchase new cars).”

However, for unknown reasons the voucher scheme was replaced with cash, which was rarely spent on buying new, standard vehicles, ISNA reported.

Directing attention to domestic automakers, the official said they are legally obliged to scrap one clunker for every three vehicles they produce, “but the law is not enforced.”

  “Not an Obligation”

Complaining that the scrappage program is dead, Hosseini said “no government is obliged to change people’s old cars for them” and offer cash in return, “so people shouldn’t (always) expect financial support from the government.”

This is while many developed and developing countries worldwide have, at one point or another, launched effective scrappage schemes which included discount vouchers, tax rebates and even cash incentives.

To scrap 30,000 clunkers, Austria launched a scrappage scheme in April 2009 and paid €1,500 ($1,695) to owners of vehicles more than 13 years old. The program proved to be a success as new vehicle registrations went up by 4% in June 2009 compared to the previous year, and the scheme ended its run in July after 30,000 vehicles were scrapped, according to the Austrian Times.

A similar scheme was launched by the UK government in January 2009 and its success prompted officials to extend the program twice, finally ending on March 2010. Based on the scheme, scrapping a vehicle older than 10 years allowed for a £2,000 ($2,872) cash incentive — the money burden was shared, with £1,000 provided by the government and £1,000 by the auto industry.

In Romania a scheme was introduced in 2005 and it allows customers a 3,800 lei ($955) discount if the car is older than 10 years. In 2014, the value of the voucher was raised to 6,500 lei ($1,635) and the age of the car reduced to eight years.

Tehran is home to five million vehicles, most of which fail to meet rigorous emissions standards and 160,000 are used well past their recommended mileage.

“Based on the 2011 government directive, the 160,000 cars are illegally on the streets,” Hosseini said, adding that the owners of vehicles must be fined, but nobody enforces the law.

Exhaust fumes from five million cars account for 80% of the capital’s pollution that every year during the start of winter shuts down schools, locks up million in homes and fills hospitals with young and old suffering from breathing problems and other respiratory ailments. In some extreme cases people have died due to the air pollution.

Every year, air pollution causes 4,400 premature deaths in Tehran and about 80,000 in the country.