Ottawa, Ontario – A new program, Retire Your Ride, has been introduced to offer incentives to Canadians who turn in older, higher-polluting vehicles. The program is being delivered by the not-for-profit Clean Air Foundation, with support from the Government of Canada.

The program also promotes sustainable transportation choices that lead to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The incentives include discounts on public transit passes, bicycles, memberships in car-sharing programs, or $300 in cash.

The federal government is providing $92 million to fund the program until March 31, 2011. The Retire Your Ride program will be delivered by the Clean Air Foundation in collaboration with local and national partners.

The Foundation said that of the 20 million cars and trucks on Canada’s roads, nearly five million were manufactured before 1996, the year the government introduced more stringent emissions standards. These pre-1996 models produce about 19 times more air pollutants than newer cars and trucks.

The program will also include a National Car Recycling Code of Practice, developed with the Automotive Recyclers of Canada, that will raise the standard of environmental care for vehicle recycling, and apply to all participating recyclers.

Automotive analyst, Dennis Desrosiers, believes the plan is “a waste of time and energy and taxpayer money” and will fail because the amount being offered is too low.  “Explain to me why a consumer with an asset worth at least a couple thousand dollars if not a lot more would turn it in for $300 bucks?”  Desrosiers said.  He pointed out that similar vehicle scrappage programs in Germany are offering over $4,000 for cars that are over nine years old.

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