A bill introduced in Congress Wednesday would help drivers retire their old, inefficient cars in exchange for money to help them buy public transportation passes or newer vehicles with better-than-average gas mileage.
The Accelerated Retirement of Inefficient Vehicles Retirement Act of 2009 (ARIVA), introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), would offer vouchers of up to $4,500 for drivers to retire any vehicle still in drivable condition that has a fuel economy rating of less than 18 miles per gallon.
These vouchers would help make fuel-efficient cars, such as hybrids and electric cars, more affordable for everyone, but especially for those who can least afford high gas prices but also can’t afford to buy a newer vehicle with better mpg.
The bill would require that retired cars be scrapped and that the voucher go toward the purchase of a new or used car that exceeds federal fuel economy standards by at least 25 percent, or toward the use of public transit.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has commended the bill, estimating that 575,000 cars would be retired through the program each year, and that oil savings would reach 46,000 barrels per day by 2013.
You can follow the progress of this bill, H.R.520, through Thomas, the Library of Congress’ legislative information website. And you can read more about ACEEE’s endorsement of ARIVA here, as well as the group’s full report on the bill, Accelerated Retirement of Fuel-Inefficient Vehicles Through Incentives for the Purchase of Fuel-Efficient Vehicles.
If you’d like to speak up in support of ARIVA, contact your state senators and representatives and encourage them to co-sponsor the bill. You can find their contact information on the United States Senate and House of Representatives websites.
Megan Hirt is an Associate Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. Find her on Google+.