In recent years, state and federal officials have attempted to implement emissions reduction programs that target older vehicles. Most scrappage programs allow "smokestack" industries to avoid reducing their own emissions by buying pollution credits generated through destroying these vehicles. These programs accelerate the normal retirement of vehicles through the purchase of older cars, which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal. Hobbyists then suffer from this indiscriminate destruction of older cars, trucks and parts, which anyone undergoing a restoration project can attest.
Scrappage programs focus on vehicle age rather than actual emissions produced, and this approach is based on the erroneous assumption that all "old cars are dirty cars." The true culprits are "gross polluters," or more accurately, vehicles of any model year that are poorly maintained. Scrappage programs ignore better options like vehicle maintenance, repair, and upgrade programs that maximize the emissions systems of existing vehicles.In the past year, scrappage initiatives have been defeated in North Carolina and Washington. Enthusiasts played a vital role in altering federal scrappage legislation in 2009, when an amendment was worked into the "Cash for Clunkers" program to spare vehicles 25-years and older from the scrappage heap and expand parts recycling opportunities. Cash for Clunkers allowed car owners to receive a voucher to help buy a new car in exchange for scrapping a less fuel-efficient vehicle. Vehicle hobbyists eased the program's effects by convincing lawmakers to include a requirement that the trade-in vehicle be a model year 1984 or newer vehicle. This provision helped safeguard older vehicles, which are irreplaceable to hobbyists as a source of restoration parts.