San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Hybrids for Hoopties

Costa Rica announces clunker buyback program to finance fuel efficient cars

The Environment Ministry (MINAE) announced a new program Wednesday designed to incentivize Costa Ricans to scrap their old, inefficient cars and trucks in exchange for new hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles.

The program presented by Environment Minister Edgar Gutiérrez, alongside representatives from Banco de Costa Rica, the National Insurance Institute (INS) and the Association of Vehicle and Equipment Importers (AIVEMA), offers “favorable” financing and insurance discounts to drivers who junk their old vehicles and buy new, fuel efficient cars. Interested buyers can start the process Thursday at the Expomóvil 2015 car show at the Centro de Eventos Pedregal in Belén.

More than 50 models have been approved for financing under the program, based on European efficiency standards, including brands ranging from the Hyundai Accent to the Volkswagen Tiguan TDI and Lexus ES300H.

If Costa Rica is serious about meeting its 2021 carbon neutrality goal, it will have to address the transportation sector, Environment Minister Gutiérrez said, which is responsible for nearly 32 percent of CO2 emissions and 67 percent of fuel consumption in Costa Rica.

Officials said vehicles on the road that are older than 15 years – and there are many — can pollute up to five times as much as new models.

“It’s time for Costa Ricans to start thinking beyond the color and make of their car, and start thinking about how much carbon dioxide it emits,” Gutiérrez said when announcing the program at the Banco de Costa Rica in downtown San José.

BCR’s assistant manager for finance and administration, Leonardo Acuña, said that the public bank has set aside $20 million in financing for the project. Buyers willing to turn in their old car can finance a new one with no money down.

This is not the first time the government has tried to push Ticos to consider hybrid and high efficiency vehicles. But the new program has broader offerings and financing than a previous initiative launched in October 2013 under then-Environment Minister René Castro.

AIVEMA President Óscar Echeverría said that the private sector is excited about the program because of the wide range of people who could benefit from it, beyond those willing to buy electric or hybrid vehicles. High efficiency cars are also covered under the financing program.

Gutiérrez said the program was a work in progress and that changes would be made based on the public’s reception. One question officials did not have an answer for was how the government or private sector would recycle all the clunkers they want to take off the road, including the safe disposal of batteries, oil and other toxic chemicals found in vehicles.

Environmentally-minded car buyers can look forward to better financing deals and discounts on insurance, but officials said there was no assistance currently available when it comes to paying the marchamo — the annual vehicle circulation tax.

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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traderwds

I AGREE WITH MANY OF THESE PRESENT POSTINGS – THE RULING OLIGARCHY IN CR HAS TO BE MORE REASONABLE TO THE HEALTH OF ITS ENVIRONMENT AND AVERAGE CITIZENS NEEDS IN TRANSPORTATION AFFORDABILITY OF THEIR MOTOR VEHICLES – THR RICH HERE HAVE ALWAYS FOUND WAYS TO CIRCUNVENT PAYING THE OUTRAGEOUS IMPORT TAXES ON THEIR NEW VEHICLES NOT INCLUDING ALWAYS FUEL EFFICIENT/ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLY CARS – ITS TIME FOR GOVERNENT TO FIND OTHER ALTERNATIVE TAXING WAYS TO FINANCIALLY BLEED ITS CITIZENS – ALL THIS LONG TIME PROPAGANDA ABOUT CR BEING SO ECO FRIENDLY IS A FARSE AS ITS THE MODERN HISTORY OF THE “SEGUNDA REPUBLICA”-

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Dan Gibson

Well — for sure the one in the United States of America only cost the taxpayers a couple billion dollars — so — I am sure the one in Costa Rica will work a lot better — give me a break — just one more million dollar laundering scheme by the politicians of this beautiful country — as if they have not scammed enough out of ”their” people already!!!

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Mark Kahle

Electric cars are just fine for San Jose and the metropolitan area but then the majority of the country is mountain and they simply aren’t practical outside the flatlands.

I find that the willingness to streamline financing for this is very hypocritical except that the most expensive 15 + year old car is about 1.5 million colones… still a lot of revenue left in the new car sale. To give this type of “rebate” or subsidy to the auto industry is wrong on so many levels. It is not as if they are major employers or even that they manufacture something here. It supports sales of foreign equipment and does little if nothing for the Tico on the street.

Cut the new car tax to the standard 13% IVI and watch the old cars disappear far faster than this program could possibly dream. The import tax is usually placed to stall off competition. In this case there is none. The government is not serious about this..it is purely a PR stunt.

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Steve

While everyone here points out great points Costa Rica is in no position to even attempt this program unless it’s only for the rich as most things cater to them here in Costa Rica. Almost 25% of our citizens live below the poverty line and I can only imagine what percent teeters on that line. The average wages in costa rica range from 320$ a Month for a domestic worker to about 1200 for a college educated worker. How do you expect a person to pay for a newer car on salaries like that. Some of these people have to work 3 days just to fill the gas tank on their cars. Which brings me to another point. While the rest of the worlds fuel prices continue to drop why is ours going back up? The price of food has become very expensive for the majority of the population. I don’t understand why our government is so focused on carbon neutrality when we have alot more important problems. For example, I believe still nothing has been implemented in Bagaces and Canas to take the arsenic out of the water. Two towns in which pretty much every street has had at least one person die of kidney failure. How about the lack of water for the people on the nicoya peninsula. What about the extremely polluted rivers in the central valley. How about lowering power prices and regulating land prices so we can get them down to a realistic level so more Citizens can buy land. We also need to regulate the construction firms. They charge outrageous prices to build while delivering a low quality product. This country is in a position to advance itself greatly if there wasn’t so much corruption and greed. Like the United States we need true Patriots who care about this country to take office and work for the people not just for the money.

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patico

Once again, the government rides to the rescue of its own failed policies. Here’s an idea: if they want to modernize the nation’s vehicle fleet, the best thing they could do is scrap the 100% import tax on new cars. The rediciculously expensive price of new cars in Costa Rica is the primary reason why people hold on to their steaming piles of rolling rust buckets for decades!

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madodacr

Because the Government is driven by GREED – Everything in CR apart from using an old sock to make coffee is considered a luxury. Yeah, the Gov has imposed unreal taxes on everything. They don’t want the population to have anything. The Government is destroying this country by starving the population and restricting them from living in the real world. It’s a totalitarian regime and they are bleeding the poor people of this country to death.

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Mario Montero

And … how about electric cars? These are ZERO emissons, way more efficient than any of the cars in the program. Use no fuel, but electricity. Electricity in Costa Rica is clean because it comes from renewables (90%). This a no brainer!

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