(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In response to a request from the Knesset Finance Committee this morning, the
Finance Ministry agreed Monday afternoon to increase the budget of the nation’s
vehicle-scrapping program, although the exact amount has yet to be
Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism)
had requested during a committee meeting that the government issue an additional
NIS 20 million to extend its scrapping program, which allows people with very
old cars to trade in their vehicles for cash. Due to the program’s high demand,
the funds for 2012 have already been recently depleted, and continuing the
program through the rest of the year is crucial to curbing air pollution and
reducing roadside accidents, according to Gafni.
For 2012, the Finance
Ministry had allocated NIS 18 million for the program, with an intention to
renew the budget in 2013.
Eyal Epstein, the deputy chairman of the
Finance Ministry’s Budget Division, said that the new budgeting will occur in
the coming weeks, after the Environmental Protection Ministry brings forward the
relevant proposal for government approval, according to the
“In light of the successful experience of the program, it is
necessary to renew it immediately,” Gafni said.
“The reduction of old
vehicles contributes to traffic safety, prevents air pollution and contributes
to the state budget, due to a surplus purchase of new cars and the increase in
state tax revenues.”
Gafni stressed that the state earns in three
different ways from scrapping vehicles.
Amir Zalzberg, of the
Environmental Protection Ministry’s Air Quality Division, backed up Gafni’s
calls for an additional budget to get more gas-guzzling vehicles off the road.
The program was initially designed in order to take vehicles over 20 years old
off the road, as they are 20 times more pollutant than newer vehicles and lack
catalytic converters, Zalzberg explained.
Owners with valid licenses for
such vehicles receive NIS 3,000 for their cars directly into their bank
accounts, and some of the materials are recycled for future use, he
So far, Zalzberg noted, the program has had a budget of nearly NIS
80 million, but in both August 2010 and late 2011, the trade-ins had to be
suspended due to depletion of funds.