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Lithuania is paying people to trade in polluting cars for escooters — and it’s working

Ebikes are also proving to be popular alternatives

lithuania, escooter, ebike, subsidy, car, future, government, crazy
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Cash-for-clunkers schemes are nothing new. Normally, they work by giving drivers a kickback for getting rid of their old highly polluting car and exchanging it for a newer more efficient one.

The Lithuanian government, though, is breathing new life into the concept by letting drivers put the cash toward a totally different mode of transport like an ebike or escooter, and it’s proving very popular.

Lithuania‘s Environmental Project Management Agency (APVA) of the Ministry of Environment has been running the scheme since mid-May and so far 8,518 people have applied, national news broadcaster LRT reports.

The country’s residents are able to apply for subsidies to use against escooters, motorcycle, mopeds, bicycles, ebikes, or even public transport passes

[Read: 4 ridiculously easy ways you can be more eco-friendly]

Those that decide to discard their polluting motorcars in pursuit of a cleaner alternative could receive up to €1,000 ($1,170). Owners of particularly old cars could even make money. That’s assuming their car would fetch less than €1,000 on the used market.

According to LRT, the Lithuanian government had spent some 95% of the €8 million originally allocated for the scheme. It’s now casually adding another €3 million to help more people take advantage and clean up their personal transport.

“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 an additional 3 million euros from the Climate Change Program,” said Austėja Jonaitytė, a spokeswoman for the APVA.

Most of the money (€4.95 million) has been spent on escooters and bicycles, with €269,000 being spent on ebikes, €136,000 going on electric mopeds or motorbikes, and €50,000 being used on public transport tickets.

The Lithuanian government is quite unique in how it lets people put the money towards transportation that isn’t a car. Getting a car off the road entirely is undeniably much better for the environment than just helping drivers upgrade to cars that still pollute, but just a little less than their old clunkers.

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Published October 29, 2020 — 13:34 UTC