Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Starting July 1, 2024, the Air District will offer $1,500 to Bay Area residents to improve local air quality by scrapping their 1998 and older vehicles through the Vehicle Buy Back Program.

Spare the Air Status

The program pays owners of older, high-polluting cars and small trucks to voluntarily retire their vehicles. Older vehicles lack modern emission control technology and pollute at a higher rate than newer models.

Eligibility requirements for the Vehicle Buy Back Program include the following:

  • Vehicle must be 1998 model year or older
  • Vehicle must be currently registered as operable and must be drivable
  • Vehicle must have been registered in the Bay Area for the past 24 months
  • Vehicles within 60 days of a required smog check must take and pass smog check

The program reduces air pollutants from vehicle exhaust including fine particles and ozone precursors, the main ingredients in smog. These pollutants contribute to respiratory diseases and increased mortality rates. Retiring older vehicles also reduces carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Since 1996, the Air District’s Vehicle Buy Back program has retired over 95,000 cars, vans, pickup trucks and SUVs. For each pre-1998 vehicle removed from Bay Area roads, an estimated 75 pounds of air pollution is prevented from being emitted into the air annually.

The State of California operates a complimentary program offering eligible consumers vehicle retirement options for vehicles that do not pass smog check. More on the Consumer Assistance Program is available at

To find out more about the Vehicle Buy Back program, visit

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Last Updated: 6/18/2024