Old Car Buy Back Program Expands Model Years

$1,000 for Gasoline or Diesel Vehicle, 1997 or Older

Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (District) is now accepting vehicles, model year 1997 or older (expanded from the previous requirement of model year 1995 or older), under the popular Old Car Buy Back Program.
Since 2006, the District’s program has purchased vehicles from Santa Barbara County residents looking to retire their older cars, which produce more emissions than newer models. The program has cut nearly 600 tons of smog-forming pollution by taking 6,000 older cars off the road. Today, the vehicles that qualify for this program account for seven percent of the vehicles on the road, but represent more than 38 percent of the county’s vehicle emissions.
“Vehicle technology has improved significantly over the years, and cars and trucks today are much cleaner than they were just a decade ago,” said District Director, Aeron Arlin Genet. “Cleaner cars mean better air quality in Santa Barbara County and throughout California. Under this program, the District can partner with residents to scrap their older vehicle while providing $1,000 for the purchase of a newer, cleaner car – including an electric car – or they can pocket it and take advantage of alternative transportation options like riding the bus or bicycling.”
Funding for this program comes from vehicle registration fees designated for use by local air districts. The District will pay $1,000 for 1997 or older gasoline or diesel cars, light-duty trucks, vans, or SUVs, if certain conditions are met. Those conditions include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Vehicles must be registered in Santa Barbara County for the past two consecutive years;
  • Vehicles must be in working condition;
  • Vehicles must be smog-certified.

The vehicles bought by this program are removed from the road permanently after a licensed auto dismantler crushes the cars. The District works with specific dismantlers in Goleta, Lompoc, and Santa Maria.
For more information, including a full list of requirements, call (805) 961-8814 or visit the District’s website.