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OECD Report Examines Environmental Effectiveness of Car Fleet Renewal Schemes

June 2011: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) International Transport Forum (ITF) has published a report titled “Car Fleet Renewal Schemes: Environmental and Safety Impacts” under the aegis of the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI). 

The paper, authored by Filipe Fraga, assesses how automobile vehicle replacement schemes can be best designed to maximize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction as well as vehicle safety by analyzing three different schemes implemented in 2009, the French Prime à la Casse, the German Umweltprämie and the US CARS program. It was found that, on scheme design, the US and French models fared better at ensuring larger and “dirtier” automobiles were traded in for lighter, cleaner vehicles. Similarly, regarding cost-effectiveness, the German programme proved most expensive in terms of its total economic cost compared to savings on fuel and avoided carbon emissions, nitrous oxide emissions, and serious injuries or casualties.

On carbon emissions specifically, the report found that vehicle replacement schemes have very low overall impacts and that this should not be a rationale for their use; on nitrous oxide however, savings were orders of magnitude above those for carbon, and the report found such schemes can be justified based on these savings and that these should be targeted with specific incentives. [Publication: Car Fleet Renewal Schemes: Environmental and Safety Impacts]