Old car? Tough luck....

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Do you drive a car more than six years old? If so, by next year, you may just find yourself more reliant on public transportation, whether you like it or not.

An article on the June 8, 2005 edition of BusinessWorld reported that starting next year, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) would be barring the registration of vehicles made before 1999. This is in line with the country's compliance to the Montreal Protocol which seeks to virtually eliminate the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in five to ten years.

While this may be good news to environmentalists and the ozone layer, the imposition of this ban by the LTO would definitely have repercussions on the lives of some Filipinos, particularly those in the middle class who may not be able to afford to buy a new vehicle just like that.

There would also be the question of what to do with the tens of thousands of cars more than six years old which would be rendered unuseable. Selling these vehicles as used cars may not even be an option, as they would still be barred from being registered and therefore would still be unuseable on public roads.

I wonder if the LTO even considered these implications. While I have no qualms with saving the ozone layer, the abruptness of taking all of these vehicles, a lot of them still likely to be in very good condition, out of service seems rather...well, abrupt. A car owner with a car six years old or older may not even be able recoup a single peso of his or her investment in purchasing that vehicle. To a middle class individual, the cost of even a six year old car still represents a sizeable sum. There should also be an option for the car owner to just replace his or her car's airconditioning system with a non-CFC version, after which the car can still be registered with the LTO. This would probably be a more cost-effective measure than outright barring the entire vehicle, which would be quite a waste.

Considering that the car manufacturers would be the ones who would benefit from the sudden increase in the demand for new vehicles, why not let them share the burden as well? Perhaps legislation can be introduced to require these car manufacturers to purchase these older cars, and credit their value against the cost of a new vehicle. The car manufacturers could also be required to recycle the components of the old cars. It makes sense right? Just a thought.

Well, it remains to be seen if this rule will really be implemented by next year. Either way, it may not be a bad idea to start saving up for that new car.

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