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Romania to pay car owners to junk old vehicles, buy new ones

Romania's government said it will spend 49.5 mln lei ($19 mln) this year to encourage owners of cars older than 12 years to junk them and buy new ones to cut pollution.

The government will give 3,000 lei each to owners of 16,500 cars to help them buy vehicles that meet stricter emissions standards, Environment Minister Sulfina Barbu said today at a press conference in Romania's capital, Bucharest. „Romania is among the countries with the oldest cars on the road in Europe, with an average car age of more than 13 years,” Barbu said. „That's more than the retirement age for cars in many European countries.” Romania must conform to higher pollution standards after joining the European Union on January 1. Cars in the country are often passed from parent to child and kept running for decades. Most older models were made by Dacia SA under the communist government which fell in 1989, before the company was sold to Renault SA, France's second-biggest carmaker. The payments revive a six-month program that ended in December. New car sales in Romania rose 16% last year to 297,000 units as wages increased and consumer lending boomed before the country joined the EU. (Bloomberg)