Scrap Your Old Ride For Cash, Get A Newer, Cleaner Vehicle

A car like this 2017 Chevy Volt becomes more affordable with up to $9,000 cash for scrapping an older vehicle. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

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Air quality regulators have been encouraging people to give up their old polluting cars by offering cash toward the purchase of a newer one. The program is also becoming more attractive to people who don't even want to own a car.

The Replace Your Ride program from the South Coast Air Quality Management District is in its fifth year, and it just got an infusion of more than $15 million. It's based on the old federal Cash for Clunkers vehicle replacement program.

If your car is from 2011 model year or earlier, and you have a low- to moderate-income, you can get up to $9,000 to buy something newer and less polluting. That's nearly enough to afford a used plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle, said AQMD Chief Technologist Matt Miyasoto.

But wait, there's more: "We will also help them install charging stations in their house. They can now get up to $2,000 for that," Miyasoto said.

Don't want another car? You could get up to $7,000 in vouchers for public transit, car sharing or rideshare services.

And next year, AQMD expects to offer a voucher to swap your old car for something really exciting: a clean new battery-powered electric bike.

THE CLEAN CAR REBATE EQUALIZER

The amount you can get paid for scrapping your vehicle depends on your income and household size.

Most of the new high-tech plug-in hybrid and electric cars cost too much new for low- and moderate-income people to take advantage of the similar-sized rebates available to buyers of new cars. The AQMD Replace Your Ride program fills that gap by helping low- to moderate-income people get cleaner vehicles.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the age of cars that qualify to be scrapped for cash. LAist regrets the error.