ACEEE Applauds Introduction of Vehicle Scrappage Bill

January 14, 2009

Media Contact(s):

Shruti Vaidyanathan, 202-507-4021, Senior Advisor for Research
Therese Langer, 202-507-4013, Transportation Program Director

Washington, D.C. — The Accelerated Retirement of Inefficient Vehicles Retirement Act of 2009 (ARIVA), introduced in the House and Senate this morning, will help consumers dissatisfied with their gas guzzlers to retire those vehicles and replace them with fuel-efficient vehicles. ARIVA is designed to speed up the transition to a low-consuming vehicle stock in the U.S. “Unstable gasoline prices, tight household budgets, and signs of global warming are causing many consumers to rethink their vehicle preferences,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “Congress set fuel economy standards on an upward trajectory in 2007, but it will take many years for these improvements to really take over.”

The ARIVA bill, sponsored by Senators Feinstein, Collins, and Schumer and Representatives Inslee and Israel, among others, offers vouchers of up to $5,500 for consumers to retire vehicles rated at under 18 miles per gallon for fuel economy purposes (roughly 14-15 miles per gallon in on-road driving). The vehicle must be scrapped, and the voucher then may be applied to the purchase of a new or used vehicle that exceeds federal fuel economy standards by at least 25%; alternatively, the voucher may be applied toward the purchase of transit passes at participating local transit agencies.

Transportation Program Director Therese Langer said: “Unlike tailpipe pollution rates, which have been declining steadily, vehicle fuel economy has been stagnant for decades. This program correctly targets highly inefficient vehicles of any vintage.” At the same time, the program will reduce tailpipe pollution, because any vehicle purchased under the program must have low emissions of both greenhouse gases and traditional pollutants.

Providing an incentive to retire inefficient vehicles gives their owners an opportunity to reduce their fuel costs by trading up the efficiency scale while boosting the market for highly efficient vehicles. The program could add to the environmental benefits of the stimulus package while contributing to the recovery of the auto industry and its transition toward more viable product lines.

While participation in this voluntary program is hard to gauge given its innovative nature, ACEEE’s preliminary estimates are that 575,000 vehicles would be retired annually, and that fuel savings would reach 46,000 barrels per day by 2013. An ACEEE white paper on accelerated vehicle retirement is available at

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, contact ACEEE, 529 14th Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C.20045 or visit