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UK Scrappage Scheme Encouraging Shift to Smaller, Fuel-Efficient Cars

Guardian. New cars bought through the UK’s scrappage incentive scheme, which began in May, emit on average 10.9% less CO2 (16 g/km) than the average new car, according to figures released by the car manufacturers’ trade association SMMT.

Scrappage buyers were also three times more likely than average to buy the smallest class of car—minis such as the Smart Fortwo—and a third more cars bought through the scheme were larger superminis such as the Hyundai i10. New cars bought through the scheme had average CO2 emissions of 131.1 g/km CO2, 27.4% below the average CO2 (181.9 g/km CO2) of the scrapped cars.

Gasoline cars account for 85% of cars bought through the scrappage scheme, a higher proportion than in the overall market (39.9%) between May and September. The majority (72.2%) of cars registered through the scheme are small cars from the mini and supermini segments.

The UK’s scrappage scheme provides £2,000 (US$3,300) to qualifying buyers. The scheme runs until February 2010, or until the funds run out. In September, the government announced a further £100 million funding for the scheme, expanding its coverage to up to 400,000 vehicles.

Under the rules, the vehicle being traded in must be a car or small van weighing up to 3,500 kilograms (kg), and be registered in the United Kingdom (UK) on or before 31 August 1999 (among other conditions). The new vehicle purchased must be a car or small van weighing up to 3,500 kg first registered in the UK on or after mid-May 2009,

The switch to greener cars as a result of the UK scrappage scheme echoes the pattern set by the US “cash-for-clunkers” scheme, which saw SUVs and pick-up trucks account for 83% of the most-traded cars. The US administration claimed new cars bought through the programme were 63% less polluting than the old ones, though campaigners criticised it as an costly method of reducing carbon emissions.


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