Cash for Clunkers, Government Scrappage Schemes, a bad idea?

Cash for your ‘clunker’ or any other Governmental vehicle scrappage scheme can only really be seen as a Government taking a limited and short term view. In addition, although claims are made for enhancing the environment, the cost in production of new vehicles far outweighs the environmental claims made.

Many new cars use heavy metals in greater quantity than cars that are more than 5-10 years old.

This means there will be a huge cost to the environment when such cars are finally, in their turn taken off the road. This is because such heavy metals, used in batteries, catalysers and other new technology equipment require specialised techniques in their disposal.

In addition, the carbon release into the environment when a vehicle is scrapped is only slightly less than the carbon release that occurs when the car is manufactured. This means that by promoting the scrapping of hundreds or thousands of cars a Government is actually promoting increases of carbon release into the environment.

Also, many new cars are manufactured in Countries that have less than perfect emission controls in their manufacturing infrastructure. So by pushing car owners into scrapping that old car in favour of a new one, again it is the environment that suffers. Until such Countries are pressured into improving their manufacturing processes, simply encouraging them to increase production seems to be defeating the claimed objective of such scrappage schemes.

It is interesting to note that such scrappage schemes seem to play towards Government taxation of vehicles. In the UK, generally when a new vehicle taxation law is passed, vehicles older than a certain age are exempted from some changes or increases. By introducing scrappage schemes the amount of these exempted vehicles is reduced more quickly therefore hastening an increase in the amount of vehicles that the new tax laws apply to.

Large 4x4s and SUVs are particularly prone to such machinations as the recent increases and penalties to vehicle owners taxation wise focuses mainly upon such vehicles. Those that purchase such a vehicle that is registered in 2001 or newer face huge increases in taxation with large single tax costs at the time of purchase if the vehicle is brand new. It is certainly in the Government’s interest to remove older 4x4s and SUVs from the road so that they can benefit from their draconian new taxes.

Car owners would be far kinder to the environment if they maintained their vehicle properly so that it’s emissions were at optimum levels. They should also seek to own their car for longer, using salvaged parts to keep it on the road. This is certainly more environmentally friendly.

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