From Grist: Are you still driving around your pre-1996 car? While it's awesome that you haven't consumed any new materials since then, unfortunately a pre-1996 car may be doing more harm than good. That's because as of that year, tougher emissions standards were put in place on vehicles, so any car made after that year pollutes a whole lot less than one made before then. Add in to that the age of the car and the natural reduction of fuel efficiency over the life of a vehicle, and you end up with approximately 30% of the vehicles on the road (5 million out of 18 million) that account for nearly 66% of the smog-causing pollution emissions.
How will it work? The Federal government will give the Toronto-based Clean Air Foundation $92 million over four years to run a national vehicle "scrappage" program. The program will offer incentives including rebates on new vehicles, free transit passes, bicycles, membership in ride-sharing programs and $300 cash. The rusty clunkers will then be turned over to scrapyards to crush and recycle them according to provincial guidelines. Vehicles earlier than the 1996 model year will qualify for the Clean Air Foundation-run Car Heaven program.
While there are some political grumblings (some don't like the association with GM and encouraging people to buy new cars, for example) it's still a great initiative to help people get the clunkers off the road and get something more eco-friendly on the road.