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Evaluation of the National Vehicle Scrappage Program

5.0 Conclusions

Final Report

July 12, 2011

The evaluation evidence leads to the conclusions indicated below.

Relevance

Based on the evidence gathered for this evaluation, there was an identified need for the NVSP. Model-year 1995 and older vehicles produce significantly more smog than newer models, and there is scientific evidence that smog is highly toxic for the environment and human health. When the NVSP began in 2007, there were 4.6 million model-year 1995 and older models on the road. There was also a need to improve the environmental standards of vehicle recycling practices in Canada.

Although there were regional initiatives with similar objectives when the NVSP was implemented, none were of similar scope. However, EC made efforts to build on these efforts to reduce duplication. The program was consistent with federal priorities and EC’s mandate and priorities related to air quality and climate change. The NVSP contributes to EC’s strategic outcome related to the minimization of pollution.

The evaluation assessed three dimensions of program performance: design and delivery, effectiveness, and efficiency/economy.

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Performance: Design and Delivery

The NVSP objectives were well defined and targets were clear. The initial program target for vehicles to be retired became unattainable because the full national program was only launched in January 2009, 21 months later than initially expected. But annual targets were met or exceeded once full implementation was achieved. The objectives for the recycling code of practice were realistic, well defined and successfully achieved.

The program was delivered through a national NFP using a contribution agreement with EC. The national NFP then worked with a network of regional NFPs. This delivery system proved to be effective and efficient overall. The advantages included faster implementation, flexibility when making adjustments, and reduced duplication. Program funding was adequate for cash incentives and program operations. Program participants were generally satisfied with the NVSP and the level of satisfaction increased as the program matured.

Program achievements were monitored using the online SPARC data system, quarterly and annual reports from SI to EC, a mid-program review, surveys of participants and the general public, and various program management tools such as spreadsheets to monitor vehicle recycler audits. The program monitoring and performance data were used extensively by program managers to direct and fine-tune the program.

Communications activities were successful at reaching key stakeholders and the general public. Outreach and promotional materials for RYR were linked to two other federal government initiatives, ecoENERGY for Personal Vehicles (e.g., driving tips, buying a fuel-efficient vehicle), and Q&As on admissibility of the RYR transit incentive for the federal transit pass tax credit.

Many lessons were learned, including the strengths of an approach based on third-party delivery, the need to allow adequate time to reach full implementation of a complex program involving many partners, and the importance of clearly defined roles, responsibilities and lines of communication.

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Performance: Effectiveness

The program was made available across all regions, except in the territories due to the lack of recycling infrastructure and low demand. The level of public awareness increased steadily as the program matured. Many program users recognized that their older vehicle was less environmentally friendly than new models, but many users also overestimated the role of car maintenance as a determinant of the level of pollution produced by older automobiles.

As of March 2011, approximately 138 600 vehicles were retired through the program, although some would have been retired in its absence. As the program was implemented 21 months after program inception, it was unable to reach its initial target. Some regions had difficulties reaching their targets due to the lack of recycling infrastructure and other logistical issues.

Most of the participants (93%) preferred the cash incentive. More than 75% of participants replaced or indicated they would replace their vehicles with another one. The auto manufacturer rebates had a direct impact on the type of replacement vehicle purchased, as most program users opted for larger vehicles due to their coming with the biggest incentives and discounts.

EC data indicate that the program contributed to reduced emissions of NOx, VOCs and GHGs. Total reductions are estimated to be approximately 5000 tonnes of VOCs and NOx, and approximately 37 500 tonnes of GHGs.

The recycling code of practice is considered an important and valuable legacy of the program. The code was published in print and electronic formats and was widely and readily available to auto recyclers across the country. Environmentally safe practices for the recycling of vehicles during the program were ensured by requiring all participating recyclers to adhere to the code. ARC reports that it has approximately 450 member companies nationally, most of whom now adhere to the code.

Overall, many factors had an impact on the program’s success, including the influence of a similar U.S. program and the auto manufacturer rebates, both of which contributed to increase the profile and take-up of the NVSP. The program’s limited ability to influence program users’ transportation choices after the incentive was provided was also unexpected. In terms of unintended impacts, the NVSP helped build NFP capacity, led to economic benefits, and generated social benefits by removing older, less safe vehicles and replacing them with new, safer vehicles.

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Performance: Efficiency and Economy

Evidence indicates that program resources were well spent. EC and SI monitored performance and introduced corrective measures to ensure program efficiency. A cost analysis indicates that, compared to other similar programs, the NVSP can be considered cost-efficient.

As well, significant resources were leveraged by the program. Based on an analysis of the value of all incentives provided to program participants in relation to the total cost of incentives provided by the federal government, a 3:1 leveraging ratio was achieved.

Few alternatives were identified by KIs. Foreign programs show that an alternative approach would have been to offer more significant incentives, with conditions on the types of substitute vehicles purchased.

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