Romanians’ preference for driving fancy big second-hand cars to show off is adding to pollution and causing the government headaches.
Environment Minister Barna Tanczos says he is fighting a losing battle against the number of second-hand cars that outnumber new cars.
He singled out people who “drive around in highly polluting vehicles with powerful engines because they don’t want to drive a new car from a different category.”
They consider “it is beneath them,” he said.
The minister said that in spite of ‘the huge financial effort’ made by the government to buy back used cars and take them off the roads, there are more used cars registered than new ones, News.ro reported.
Romania is committed to taking one quarter of a million cars older than 15 years out of circulation by 2026 as part of the terms of the EU Recovery and Resilience Plan. In exchange, Romania will receive funds for highways.
The minister has proposed putting up taxes for old cars as a deterrent, he told B1 TV on Wednesday.
The budget for scrapping second-hand cars was increased to 440 million this year, ten percent more than the previous year. The government has already paid 600 million, the minister said.
“We are suspending the program and will start again next February,” he said.
A scrappage scheme called Rabla and Rabla Plus encourages motorists to part-exchange their old, polluting car for a new, eco-friendly one, by offering cash towards the new car when trading in the old one.
However, he acknowledged some people simply couldn’t afford new models and said the state would help them.