Trading in old cars for e-bikes proves popular

A 'cash-for-clunkers' scheme in Lithuania has seen thousands of residents trade in their old polluting motor vehicles for shiny new e-bikes, e-scooters and bicycles. 

The Environmental Project Management Agency (APVA) of the Ministry of Environment are offering subsidies up to 1000 euros (around $1600 AUD) to those who discard old pulluting motor vehicles – to be spent on electric scooters/bikes, bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds, or simply public transport passes.

Since initiating the program in mid-May almost 9000 people have applied, and 95% of the 8 million euro budget for the project has been spent. 

Austėja Jonaitytė, a spokeswoman for the APVA, said: “The initiative received a lot of attention from the population. The number of applications exceeded all expectations. For this reason, the Environment Ministry has allocated additional 3 million euros from the Climate Change Programme.” 

So far most of the funds have been spent on electric scooters and bicycles (4.95 million euros). 

The APVA has also been accepting requests to subsidise purchases of electric cars, with 2000 euros up for grabs for used or 4000 euros for new electric car purchases.

While cash-for-clunkers schemes to get old cars off the road is not a new concept, the genuine attempt by Lithuania to replace these vehicles with more sustainable modes of transport is extremely promising.

There's no doubt that removing cars from congested cities is an important step forward to creating cleaner and more sustainable communities – but active transport still needs to be prioritised to create healthier communities also.

You can read more about Lithuania's transport subsidies from their national news provider, LRT.

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