Canada’s own Retire your Ride program is an initiative of The Government of Canada, Clean Air Foundation and its partners, designed to enable people to get their high-polluting cars off the road and reward them for doing so. The program is committed to improving air quality by responsibly recycling vehicles and aims to retire at least 50,000 vehicles per year until March 31, 2011.
And this is all fine and dandy and I am a big supporter of anything that encourages folks to help the environment and it even puts a few bucks in their pockets. But there is a big problem when it comes to the fact that these cars need to be running and insured – and they only get $300 for a car in that condition.
What that means (and I know because I was in this situation with my 1994 Concorde that had only 75k kilometers on it) is: I have to get rid of my current car that is serving its purpose of getting me around to work and play but I only get a paltry $300 which won’t even cover one month of my new car payment of $400 for a Honda Civic. So really what is my incentive? Now if it was like the USA and I was getting a $3,500 discount off my new car I would say whoa, that pays for 10 months of my new car and maybe my old one would be dead by then anyways.
It is good to see various car companies coming out with incentives above the $300 the government is offering but to make this program a ‘real’ success I would like to see the minimum amount raised to $900 or even $1,200 for each car brought in through the program.
The ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program now renamed CARS was a huge success in the USA because it offered a real, worthwhile incentive to get old cars off the road, now it is time for the Canadian government to step up and offer more to make the Retire your Ride program even more successful.