Drivers get $6000 a year to ditch their cars in new study

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Words: Matthew Hansen
23 Feb 2021

A newly announced study in the UK is asking a small selection of motorists to do what some would say is impossible; give up their cars.

Conducted in Coventry, the study applies to owners of older cars from the pre-Euro 4 petrol and pre-Euro 6 diesel era. That is, petrol cars built to European efficiency and environmental standards prior to 2006 and diesels built to sub-2015 standards.

Owners of these cars are able to take part in the two-year trial, seeing them trade in their cars for credits that can be used to pay for public transport, taxis, ride-shares, and e-scooters. Some people taking part in the study will receive as much as £3000 ($5769) in credits.

According to The Times, the purpose of the study is to try and find out just how much in the way of incentives is required to incentivise people into adopting more environmentally friendly forms of transport.

The scheme has faced mixed reception. On one hand other parts of the UK are looking to put similar schemes in place, with Hampshire in what it calls its Mobility Credit Scheme. On the flipside, motoring advocates have questioned whether the timing for such a scheme was right given the UK’s ongoing battle with Covid-19 and the fears of catching the virus on public transport.

One of the more outspoken groups has been the UK Automobile Association. AA president Edmund King told Auto Express UK that the scheme was a blight on UK vehicle production, noting the significance of starting it in a production hub like Coventry.

“Coventry was right at the heart of the historic revolution of the British motor industry and known to many as the UK’s motor city or ‘British Detroit’. How ironic that a local authority in Coventry is now trying to pay people to ditch their wheels,” he said.

“The timing of this initiative seems bizarre when many are avoiding public transport due to Covid-19 and leading brands such as Jaguar, with close links to Coventry, are going all-electric by 2025.

“The money would probably be better spent on providing electric charging points for those without off-street parking rather than giving mobility credits for services that people will use when they need to or feel safe to.”

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