Technology

Published on August 21st, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

10

A Greener Cash for Clunkers: Trade Your Car for a Bike

cargo bikesIf you’ve kept an eye on the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program (which will end on Monday), you know that it’s been a huge success on a number of fronts: hundreds of thousands of people have traded in older, less fuel-efficient vehicles for new models with better gas mileage, and some auto manufacturers are even rehiring. Of course, the program’s had its downsides, also: dealers have complained about slow reimbursements, and some environmentalists have worried that the fuel economy requirements weren’t quite stringent enough.

Portland, Oregon-based businessman Joe Doebele has another complaint about the program: there’s nothing in it to get commuters to shift from four wheels to two. Rather than just throw stones, though, Doeble decided to do something about this shortcoming: he’s started his own “cash for clunkers” program at his cargo bike shop Joe Bike.

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OK, yes — Doebele has a personal financial stake in getting more people on bikes. But he’s also right about some of the shortcomings of Cash for Clunkers. He told the Oregonian‘s Hard Drive blog:

I realized that if people are driving a clunker, they probably don’t have too much cash to spend on a new car and we’re asking them to go deeper into debt to drive more… My Cash for Clunkers program is partly out of a sense of humor and partly out of economical activism.”

Trade Your Car — or Your Bike — for a New Bike

The Joe Bike Cash for Clunkers program has two options: your “clunker” can be either a car or a bike.

  • For cars: Donate it to the American Lung Association. Bring in the receipt for the donation, and Joe Bike will give you 10% off a new bike, and a discounted-for-life membership in Zipcar.
  • For bikes: Bring in your repairable bike, and get $50-$100 off a new one. The old bike will be donated to the Community Cycling Center.

While the Joe Bike program probably won’t get quite as many clunkers off of the road as the federal initiative, it’s a fantastic means of promoting bicycling as not only a greener means of transportation, but also a much more economical one.

Know of other alternative “cash for clunkers” efforts? Share them…!

Image credit: jyri at Flickr under a Creative Commons license



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://PlanetThoughts.org David – green thoughts

    Could we simplify and just do “Splash for Clunkers”?

    I think we would want to remove the lead-acid battery, and the toxic liquids in the car (oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, etc) and then push it off a cliff or a barge into a deep body of water. The fish love those kinds of objects for shelter and for nesting….

    This might be humorous… or would it work….

  • MD

    That works great if you live in town or some mega city, and I applaud the idea of biking around, but I don’t live in town because I cannot afford the price of the typical garbage construction allowed by the building codes in my area…

  • Bryant Turnage

    Sounds like someone heard Casey Sinclair’s idea – or else great minds just think alike. I definitely applaud the idea of getting more people to at least supplement their transportation needs with bikes, even if it’s just recreationally. Personally, though, I don’t think the discount is enough, considering that a good bike can easily run north of a thousand bucks.

  • Pingback: Clicklist: For the capitalist love of clunkers | green LA girl

  • http://www.crowleyautotransport.com/ Car Transportation

    I’ve donated cars to the American Lung Assocoiation several times. Gives you a nice tax write-off for charity. Nice to know you can get a discount on a bike as well.

  • Private Fleet

    Will be very interesting indeed to see how the auto industry in US holds up now that the Cash for clunkers program has ended. Australians will be watching very closely.

  • http://crash456.blog.co.uk/2009/10/15/give-a-new-look-to-your-old-cars-7174191/ Jonathan Paul

    Hey,
    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Thank you :-)
    Keep blogging

  • http://www.autosmoving.com/ car shipping quotes

    I’ve heard that Portland is very Bike friendly city … I wish the same for Chicago. Are those Community Cycling Center nationwide or not ?

  • http://www.cartransportbids.com/ shipping car

    I think we would want to remove the lead-acid battery, and the toxic liquids in the car (oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, etc) and then push it off a cliff or a barge into a deep body of water. The fish love those kinds of objects for shelter and for nesting….

    This might be humorous… or would it work….

  • Sofia

    I just bought a bike at http://www.villycustoms.com and I love it!
    Unfortunately, I like in Dallas where everything is like a 30 min drive away, but as far as things near me like school and grocery stores, I replaced my car with my new bike :)

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