Scrap your Car!

… but please don’t buy a new one.

Maybe you don’t know it, but in Austria and Germany you get some money right now if you scrap your old car and buy a new one instead. It’s meant to be an encouragement for the economy, at times of the financial crisis. In my opinion this is completely bullshit, because I believe cars are not sustainable. They are just energy consuming, space consuming (even worse) and a major factor of pollution (exhaust fumes, noise) in our cities. And they cause a lot of accidents, many of them lethal (the new cars, which are usually bigger are much more dangerous – not for the people inside, but outside).

The car industry is in a crisis right now (I can’t say, that I’m not happy about this). But does this measure really help? Okay, they can produce a lot of new cars right now … but what next? Who will buy a new car in half a year? or in a year? Don’t all this people who plan to buy a car soon buy it now? So the next crisis will come soon … And what to do then?

I would love to see an encouragement of our government(s) and municipalities to use other means of transportation. In Public Transportation there are a lot of sustainable jobs (building new buses, trams and metros, construction of new lines, drivers, mechanics, …). Cycling – maybe not so many jobs, but most of them are in small or medium sized companies.

Happily, I’m not the only one, who thinks like this:

  • The German city of Mannheim introduced a bonus if you get rid of your old bike and buy a new one instead.
  • The „Verkehrsclub Deutschland“ demands a national wide bonus for users of public transportation, cycling and other means of transportation.
  • (the young lobby for cyclists in Austria) demonstrates against the scraping bonus for cars and demands the promotion of cycling.
  • „Argus – Die Radlobby“ (lobby for cyclists in Austria) introduced their own bonus – there’s a discount on a new „KTM – Velvet“ of 250€ if you buy it now.
  • The VCÖ (Verkehrsclub Österreich) started a petition for a bonus of 100€ if you buy a new bike or a yearly ticket for public transportation.
  • Die Grünen think the scraping bonus is just a bad April Fool’s joke and demand that the 25 Mio € should be invested into improvements to public transportation.

Now in our financial crisis we could have an opportunity to change the societies values. Our cities could be so much nicer if we have less cars. People wouldn’t go to big shopping centres but use shops in their neighbourhood – good for traffic reduction, good for the local economy.  Unfortunately I don’t see it happen. But the next crises will come soon, I’m sure about it.

Maybe people (and politicians) start to think (I doubt it).

What do you think? Do you have good ideas? Have you heard about other activism of groups?

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