Auto buyback program is a crushing success
supplied by San Diego Environmental Exchange, Inc.
rom the driver's seat of a demolition crane, County
Air Pollution Control Board member Brian Bilbray struck a blow for cleaner
air when he flattened a 1980 Ford Pinto, one of the first gross-polluting
vehicles purchased by the San Diego Environmental Exchange's (SDEE) old
car buyback and scrapping program. The August 29 program kickoff event was
held at Hilltop Auto Wrecking in Otay Mesa.
San Diego Environmental Exchange, a private contractor,
received a $700,000 grant from the San Diego County Air Pollution Control
District to purchase 1,000 pre-1982 cars and light trucks. The Air District
expects the program to remove some two million pounds of emissions from
San Diego's air over the next three years.
Motor vehicles are the primary source of smog in San
Diego County. Recent studies indicate that ten percent of the vehicles on
the road today account for over fifty percent of automobile emissions. "By
getting these gross-polluting cars and trucks off the road, San Diego takes
a major step forward in the fight against air pollution," said Bilbray.
Breaking up isn't hard to do
Each vehicle's frame, catalytic converter and engine
block are destroyed. The only exception is that engine blocks from classic
cars, as determined by the Air District, need not be destroyed. Spare parts
from all of the program vehicles are recycled and made available to collectors
and others interested in repairing older vehicles.
People interested in selling their cars or light trucks
through the program are encouraged to call 692-2500 to be placed on a waiting
list for a future program. Since the program was first publicized in May,
SDEE has received more than 5,000 inquiries and purchased 275 vehicles.
Vehicle owners are paid $700 per vehicle and receive a $300 voucher good
toward the purchase of a 1984 or newer vehicle at more than 30 new car dealerships
in San Diego County.
Vehicles must meet strict requirements set forth by
the California Air Resources Board and the Air District before being eligible
to participate in the program. The vehicles must be continuously registered
in San Diego County for 24 months prior to purchase. They must be street-legal
and in good driving condition. Vehicles with excessive damage or rust and
vehicles which are not being driven are not allowed to participate in the
Making it pay
The current program is funded by a $2 surcharge placed
on the annual Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration fees. The
fees were approved by the Air Pollution Control Board to fund programs that
reduce smog from motor vehicles. The automobile buyback program was one
of 18 local projects approved for funding by the Air Board last September.
Future phases of the automobile buyback program may be funded through the
allocation of additional monies from the DMV fund or by private sector participation.
The Air District is also developing a Mobile Source
Emission Reduction Credit Rule (MERC Rule) which will allow San Diego County
businesses to earn emission reduction credits for the purchase of older
gross-polluting vehicles. The MERC Rule is expected to be approved and in
place by the first of next year.
San Diego Environmental Exchange developed the automobile
buyback program with the intent of working with private companies to help
them meet their air pollution reduction goals. The overall goal of both
the company and the Air Pollution Control Board was to create a self-funding
ongoing program. "This program will result in a boost for the County's
economy and a decrease in San Diego's air pollution," said SDEE vice-president
San Diego companies interested in working with SDEE
to efficiently achieve their pollution reduction goals through an inexpensive
alternative automobile buyback program can contact San Diego Environmental
Exchange at 283-6893 for more information.