Update: This post was originally published on September 14, 2009. I’m republishing it here because I recently turned in our trusty (and rusty) 1992 Honda Accord to the Retire Your Ride program in return for $300. I could have tried to sell the car privately but I wasn’t very keen to put in the extra work on car that would fetch, at best, $600. Recycling the old car through the Retire Your Ride program turned out to be a quick and straightforward affair. You first need to apply for the program here and provide proof of insurance for the past 6 months. You have the option of dropping the car off or arranging for a pick-up. I opted to drop the car along with the vehicle portion of the permit off at the nearest recycler a couple of days after initially signing up. I understand that a pick up would take 2 or 3 weeks and a cheque will be issued 2 to 4 weeks after drop-off or pickup.
The Federal Government has decided against implementing a cash-for-clunkers program in Canada because car manufacturers were not willing to settle for anything that offered less than a $3,000 rebate. However, it turns out a little-known program called Retire Your Ride, funded by the Government of Canada, already offers modest cash incentives for scrapping a model year 1995 or earlier vehicle that is in running condition and has been registered and insured for at least 6 months. Depending on the province of residence, you could receive $300 in cash, discounts on commuter bicycles, transit passes and manufacturer rebates on new cars. British Columbia residents can receive an additional $750 to $1,250 on the purchase of a newer vehicle under the Scrap-It program.
It is not terribly surprising that the program does not seem to be very successful. The website notes that Retire Your Ride has so far taken 15,000 vehicles off the road out of the 4 million autos the Government says are 15 years or older. It is not hard to see the reason: the financial incentives are meager; probably less than what even a clunker can fetch in the used-car market. The success of the program thus depends on people doing the right thing when it comes to replacing their clunker. We all know how well that will work.