If you live in Texas, have a car that’s over 10 years old or has failed an emissions test, and you don’t make much money, you could qualify for a $3,500 voucher to be used towards the purchase of a new car. [TCEQ]


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  1. B says:

    That’s $3500 for a hybrid, $3000 for a new or recently used car (up to 3 years old).

  2. Tankueray says:

    You must meet income and location requirements. The areas where this program are available are Houston, DFW, and the Williamson and Travis county areas. The amounts are $3,000 towards a pickup up to two model years old; $3,000 towards a car up to three model years old; and $3,500 towards a hybrid of the current or previous model year. The replacement vehicle must be a federal Tier 2 bin 5 vehicle and must not cost more than $25,000. For more information call 1-800-913-3321 and you will be transferred to the nearest local program office.

  3. Tankueray says:

    You can also qualify for up to $600 towards emissions equipment repair under this program.

  4. Pinget says:

    Hallelujah. I wish Alabama would do this. There’s alot of duct tape specials on the road. Just think of the possible improvement in emissions alone.

  5. timmus says:

    My jaw kind of hangs agape at how Texans in the city have to deal with this emissions thing. I live in a small Texas town and we don’t have to deal with that kind of thing…. I just roll my car over to the oil change place, they check the lights and horn, drive it around and slap the sticker on.

    Seems like it would be less hassle for someone to just go get their car inspected in a rural county, or get a P.O. Box in that county, register it there, and inspect it there.

    Of course I recognize the environmental implications, but for poor people there’s little choice, as Texas’s infrastructure is HEAVILY designed around car culture, and you’re pretty much screwed if you lose your vehicle.

  6. JustAGuy2 says:

    This makes a great deal of sense. Older cars (even those that have passed emission) are hugely more polluting than newer cars – something like 10:1, in many cases.

  7. laserjobs says:

    So if you are looking to buy a newer car it would be best to get your old car to fail and then sell it out of state. Would dumping a quart of 2cycle oil in the gas, do the job?

  8. kelptocratic says:

    Step 1. Drive my shit-box to Texas.
    Step 2. ???
    Step 3. Profit!

  9. GearheadGeek says:

    @timmus: It’s not really Texas’ idea. DFW, Houston metro and Austin Metro are EPA non-attainment areas. San Antonio is next, I’m pretty sure, though part of the reason Austin fails is that the prevailing winds blow some of the SA metro area’s pollution toward the measurement stations south of Austin. (A friend of mine used to work for a company that set up and monitored those stations for the EPA.)

    I must confess that I don’t have a big problem with this (and I live in the DFW mega-lo-plex.) I’m a car geek and maintain my cars very well. I realize that there are lots of vehicles around even in my part of town that probably have issues meeting these requirements, but there are now lots of used cars available at reasonable prices that would pass inspection. I’m not sure I think this $3k gift is a good thing, since it’s coming from our taxes and I’ll probably never qualify for it, but I’d like to keep living in the city AND breathing easily.

  10. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    So…if I have a 10 year old car (a 1998) that I’ve driving around, they will give me aprox $3k toward a car that is at least $25k? Chances are, if I’m driving a ’98, I don’t have the other $22k (or credit/desire to finance a $20k+ car).

  11. Rusted says:

    It’s still cheaper to keep the old beast going then do car payments. But one could get awful tired.

    @JustAGuy2: Mostly the pre-cat ones, and most of those are gone. Catalytic converters came into use in 74′. A lot that still exist are collector items and not driven regularly. It would be shame to crush a 66′ Mustang just because of that.

  12. Tankueray says:

    @laserjobs: The car has to be traded in to the dealer for the $3000. It can’t be sold out of state. And it doesn’t have to fail emissions, if it’s 10 years old and has passed it will qualify as well.
    @GearheadGeek: The $90 million for the bi-ennium does not come from taxes. It comes from various fees for emissions testing, heavy equipment, title fees in non-attainment areas, etc.
    See the fiscal notes of SB 12 for more information: [www.capitol.state.tx.us]
    @AlteredBeast: The car cannot be more than $25,000. Reasonably priced qualifying vehicles can be found with little effort.

  13. Tankueray says:

    My comments keep getting eaten.

  14. HRHKingFriday says:

    @AlteredBeast: Seriously. And by not making much money, they mean you’re making 5 bucks an hour at Whataburger. I’m so sure you’d have the credit and down payment to buy anything over 2,000- post rebate.

  15. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @Tankueray: Oooh…okay, thanks for the clarifcation. That is fair, you could get a 2005 Hyundai Accent under warranty for like $7000, trade in your old car, and get good MPG.

  16. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I live in Houston. My fiance does not own a car. We are thinking of buying him an old clunker for a few hundred bucks, then claiming the credit toward a better car, then selling the old car again.

    Cue the naysayers telling us we’re unethical. If you don’t like it, how about YOU find us the money to get him a decent car.

  17. jeffeb3 says:

    Emissions are usually regulated at county level, even though the testing facilities are regulated at the state level.

    I’m also not so sure you can register a car at a p.o. box.

    I used to register at my parent’s house which was in a small town in eastern CO. The emissions test was “Do you have a car? You pass” no need to take it anywhere, I did my registration by mail. The taxes where a heck of a lot cheaper too, $70 instead of $450 when I finally changed my address to Jefferson county (one of the larger counties surrounding Denver).

  18. Tankueray says:

    @speedwell: You can’t sell the old car. You have to turn it over to the dealer to get the credit. The car then gets sent to a salvage yard, salvage yard takes whatever parts they want off it (minus the engine and emissions equipment) and then they give the residual scrap metal to the steel mill for free. The car dealer won’t give you the $3000 without the old car and its title.

  19. GearheadGeek says:

    @Tankueray: Calling it a fee doesn’t make it less of a tax. It’s just another way for the government to take money and pretend they’re not taxing. I’m not no-tax freak (Paul, Huckabee) and I realize that overall we’re taxed much less than most industrialized 1st- and 2nd-world nations (I’ve lived and worked in Europe.) I just think there’s little difference in the government charging fees and taxes, it’s all a way to get money.

  20. GearheadGeek says:

    @speedwell: You have to have owned the old car for 12 months, registered in one of the non-attainment counties listed on the website linked above. You’ll have to surrender the old car to get the $3k, but if it’s only worth the “few hundred” you’re going to pay for, it could still be worth having the car a year, assuming the program is still in place next year.

  21. Tankueray says:

    @GearheadGeek: The program is funded for the biennium. So there is $45 million in FY08 and $45 million for FY09.

  22. EdgarB says:

    Fantastic! I was looking at purchasing a new car here in Austin in the next month or so. Was hoping for maybe 2k (if I was lucky) for my current clunker. This will take away the hassle of selling it privately AND get me alot more than I was expecting, sweet!

  23. GearheadGeek says:

    @Tankueray: I’m not complaining that they’re adding a new tax or fee for this. It’s still “our” money (that is, the residents of the State of Texas) and HelmetHair is spending it on this instead of improving roads, because he wants to convert every road he can to toll before he finally has to give up control to the next crooked moron.

  24. vliam says:

    According to the qualified automobile list, I could have dumped my old 35 MPG ’91 Saturn for a new Chevy Tahoe.

    Those are some pretty stringent environmental standards.