Program would pay to get high-polluting cars off the road
DENVER ” Denver-area air quality managers have set aside more than $200,000 to pay owners of polluting cars to keep them off the road.
A driver of a vehicle that gets flagged by roadside sensors and then fails a follow-up emissions test could be eligible for a $1,000 buyout under a program to debut in mid-June.
The money likely would not be offered if mechanics believed the vehicle could easily be fixed.
“We’re trying to find those vehicles that are really not worth repairing and getting them off the road,” said Ken Lloyd, executive director of the Regional Air Quality Council. The program would be funded by penalties polluters pay to Colorado health regulators.
It’s the latest move focusing on tailpipe emissions as Denver works to meet federal limits for ozone, an ingredient in smog. It forms when the sun bakes volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides.
Earlier this year, regulators started detecting dirty cars using drive-by emission sensors on highway on- and off-ramps. About 1,500 vehicles had been identified by early May.
This month, regulators toughened biennial tailpipe emission tests. About 31,000 extra cars are expected to fail the test annually and have to be repaired.
This isn’t the first time owners of dirty cars have been offered money to stop using their vehicles. In the mid-1990s, Total Petroleum Inc., set aside $500,000 to pay motorists $1,000 apiece for clunkers.
California and Canada have tried similar programs. Colorado regulators had little data about their success. The Canadian government announced in April it would set aside $90 million to buy clunkers over the next three years.
Final details of the new Colorado program are still getting worked out.
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