SF Supervisor to City: Keep Driving Your Old Cars

By Christian Watjen, Epoch Times
June 27, 2013 Updated: June 26, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO—To replace your used car with a fancy new low-emission vehicle might not be as green as you think. That’s the message San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos has for city agencies. 

Avalos wants to stop the city from buying new vehicles just because they have grown old, which is what the current law calls for, he said Tuesday at the full board meeting.

In the mayor’s proposed budget, currently being reviewed, 83 city vehicles are slated to be replaced because they are 12 years old. The city is to purchase a total of 91 new cars, vans, and pickup trucks at a cost of about $3.4 million, Avalos said.

The Healthy Air and Clean Transportation Ordinance (HACTO), passed in 2010, mandates the city to reduce its vehicle fleet by 20 percent and eventually replace department vehicles with low- or no-emission vehicles by 2020. The ordinance contributes to the city’s goal in cutting greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

HACTO requires city agencies to automatically eliminate their vehicles from the fleet when they reach 12 years of life, no matter what the mileage, or maintenance costs for that vehicle are.

Avalos wants to change this, pointing out that half of the agency vehicles slated to be replaced have less than 50,000 miles, according to a city Budget & Legislative Analyst report. He said he will ask the city attorney to amend HACTO.

“I believe it would be wasteful for us to replace them before the end of their useful life. Driving a used car is actually greener than buying a new car,” Avalos said.

Avalos pointed to studies that have calculated the energy and emission it takes for the production of new cars. “This blanket elimination of 12-year-old cars does not take into account the considerable emissions that are produced in manufacturing new cars,” he said.