County officials are offering added incentives to anyone who wishes to sell their clunker for demolition through the Old Car Buy Back and Scrap Program, an initiative that has already fed over 1400 cars to the crusher since its inception.
Last week the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District announced that the county’s Old Car Buy Back Program, which dismantles vehicles at local recycling facilities, would offer $1000 for used vehicles produced before 1992. Previously, almost any registered vehicle that was able pass a smog check could be exchanged for $800, but county officials are offering extra cash in hopes of getting more old, high-emission vehicles off the road.
District program coordinator Jim Frederickson said the buy back program has already helped to drastically reduce the amount of local air pollution since its start in 2006.
“This program is doing a tremendous job of cutting the amount of pollution in the air,” Frederickson said. “We have gotten about 1,411 cars through this program, which translates to about an average of one car per day. I think that’s pretty good.”
To seal their cars’ fates, owners can call the county inspector to check whether their older cars meet program specifications. Drivers can then take their vehicles to one of three local demolition lots, which hold the cars for a 10-day grace period before crushing them, in case their original owners have a change of heart.
In addition to meeting smog check and registration requirements, cars eligible for the program must have all doors, a windshield and working brakes. Frederickson said the program’s requirements are designed to ensure reduction of the number of smog-producing vehicles actually in use on county roads, not derelict old vehicles.
“We have to ensure that the car is operable and can pass its smog check in order to make sure it is contributing to the problem,” Frederickson said. “If we took old cars that are sitting in people’s backyards, then we wouldn’t be helping the problem at all.”
According to Frederickson, after four years of collecting old vehicles, the program has become well-recognized by the general public.
“The project is pretty well-known right now, but I’m doing as much as I can to get the word out there to the public,” Frederickson said.
Furthermore, Frederickson said he is certain the district’s past success in destroying clunkers that pollute the air will continue.
“Right now, we have gotten a lot of cars in and the program is doing a very good job of getting more in,” Frederickson said. “As long as we continue to get cars at this rate, I can see the project going on indefinitely.”