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December 24, 2010 > Vehicle retirement program goes statewide

Vehicle retirement program goes statewide

Submitted By Ralph Borrmann

Bay Area residents who wish to retire their older vehicles to reduce air pollution can take advantage of the newly expanded state-wide Consumer Assistance Program.

In August 2010, the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) expanded its Consumer Assistance Program to cover many of the same vehicles as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Vehicle Buyback Program. Expansion of the state's vehicle retirement program will allow the Air District to end the regional Vehicle Buyback Program on December 31, 2010.

"The Air District's Vehicle Buyback Program has proved to be a very cost-effective way to reduce pollution on Bay Area roads," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. "We encourage Bay Area residents to continue to retire older polluting vehicles by taking advantage of financial incentives available through the State Consumer Assistance Program."

Individuals interested in receiving $1,000 to retire their cars and light trucks can visit www.smogcheck.ca.gov or call 1-800-952-5210 for details on BAR's Consumer Assistance Program. In the next few months, the amount will increase to $1,500 for qualified low-income motorists.

Since 1996, the Air District's Vehicle Buy Back program has retired over 50,000 cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs. Removal of each pre-1990 vehicle from Bay Area roads reduces annual air pollution by an estimated 75 pounds. In 2010, 6,000 vehicles were retired, representing 248 tons of air pollution.

The Air District continues to operate its Smoking Vehicle Assistance Program which notifies motorists when their vehicle has been observed on Bay Area roadways smoking excessively. This situation requires vehicle repair and causes the engine to use more fuel and run less reliably. Smoking vehicles are a significant health problem for air quality generally and also impacts indoor air in the vehicles.

The public can find out about smoking vehicle health impacts, connect to vehicle retirement assistance programs or become a clean air advocate by visiting www.smokingvehiclehelp.org.

For more information about the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area, visit www.baaqmd.gov.

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