Lately, the discussion about dismantling premiums rose it’s head again. Dismantling premiums are issued to persuade last owners to deliver their old cars for dismantling sooner than naturally. Sometimes for environmental reasons, sometimes for economic reasons. In both cases the goal is to put older vehicles out of traffic earlier than normal or have them delivered to dismantling companies at all. In some European countries, producers or governments have issued premiums for a period of time, in some countries plans are made or allready operational, like in Germany. In some countries the government decided not to take part in a dismantling project, like in Belgium. There’s even a plea heard for a EU standard for premiums.
A few things need to be concidered: What is the real benefit, who will pay for it and what will be the side effects for all players. To answer these questions, the first thing to do is to reveal the agenda’s. Governments want less emissions, especially in (inner) cities, they have to live up to EU standards for clean air. Producers want to make room for new cars. They reason that taking in the older cars make people buy a new one. Especially when aided with some extra cash. In this period of economical crisis the stocks are enormous. And governments now also start to consider about ways to give economics a new impulse. New cars being sold means less workers to be fired and money starting to roll again. The money first to roll is the tax payers money in most cases.
But are these considerations all true? What about the fact that producers produce way too many cars for years, now? Will people that delivered their car actually buy a new or newer car? In Germany a car owner gets € 2500,-, but ony if he delivers a 9 year old car or older and buys a 1 year old or newer car back. This is quite a gap to bridge. And most car owners don’t buy a new car and drive it until it’s worn, they buy a car of certain age because it’s what they can afford. And what about the environment? What is the real benefit? Is the gain worth the price? Probably some emission reduction will take place. At least it will take place a bit sooner than naturally, because even these old polluting cars will end their lives at some point. But what about the life cycle analysis (LCA)? What about the environmental stress that comes with producing a new car? Or with dismantling it sooner than normal? It seems the focus is purely on the usage fase. And it seems to be forgotten that re-use is the best way to recycle.
Last but not least, it will be the dismantlings branche that will be involved severely. If a dismantling premiums project is succesful, will the branche be able to process the extra amount of cars? In some countries it’s no problem at all, in some it is. The cars that are premiated, must be dismantled. These cars however are not yet ’ripe’ for dismantling but nevertheless, re-selling or exporting them is no option. These incomes will be missed. Because these acrs are not on the road anymoren, there’s less cutomers for all the parts that come from the premiated cars. Worst case would be other restrictions. And once these cars are disappeared, they are also disappeared for the future. The big number of cars means there’s less cars left for the next years. A dismantling premium is of serious influence on the dismantlers business. Hopefully for anyone that will meet the effects of a dismantling premium, has done a good job lobbying first with his government to the minimalize negative effects, short term as well as long term, or even turn the effects into benefits.