Tuesday, December 18, 2007, posted by Auto Rider at 6:58 PM

Canada wants to get rid of old vehicles. To keep them out of Canada roads, the federal government will be introducing incentives. The investments are intended to lure vehicle owners to scrap old gas-guzzlers.

Environment Minister John Baird admitted it is a "huge challenge" to persuade Canadians to change their behavior to help combat climate change. But he said that the Conservative government is pursuing numerous options, including incentives for individuals who get rid of old and inefficient vehicles. "We will have an initiative in the coming weeks on that," he told the Economic Club of Toronto.

According to environmentalists, a 12-year-old vehicle produces 17 times more pollutants than one manufactured at the present time. A discussion paper released this summer outlines a number of possible incentives that could be offered, ranging from cash to free public transit passes to rebates on the purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles, reported Canada Autos.

The document states: "The incentive options offered through this new program will aim to accelerate the removal of older vehicles from the road and to encourage Canadians to consider sustainable transportation alternatives.”

It can be noted that a number of organizations are now offering vehicle-retirement programs countrywide. These programs include Scrap-it in Vancouver, Cash for Clunkers in Kelowna, B.C., Bye Bye Beaters in Winnipeg and Car Heaven.

Fatima Dharsee, Car Heaven's program manager, said that the government has consulted her organization as it develops its own plan. For the program to succeed, she said, it must include a range of rewards. "The right thing to do is to offer a suite of incentives, because there are families of four who want to participate and do the right thing, but for them, offering a transit pass that only works for one person won't fit their lifestyle," she said.

Scrap-it, Canada's first vehicle-retirement program, was established in Vancouver more than a decade ago. Through Scrap-it, drivers with cars built before 1993 are given $1,000 toward a new hybrid vehicle, $500 to buy a bicycle, a free transit pass for 18 months or other rewards. To qualify, individuals fill in an application and deliver their car to a designated recycling yard.

This year, the Conservatives have committed to cutting greenhouse gases by 20 per cent against current levels by 2020. However, they have been condemned by environmentalists for abandoning commitments made under the Kyoto protocol.

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