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Austrian car exchange scheme used up: ministry

The premium was available to all owners with a private car registered before January 1, 1996, who were willing to exchange it against a less polluting "Euro 4" class vehicle.
by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) July 8, 2009
Austria announced Wednesday it could no longer award a 1,500-euro (2,086-dollar) premium for car owners to buy new and less polluting vehicles because all available funds had been used up.

With 30,000 Austrians applying for the premium since it began on April 1, the 45-million-euro fund ran out of money Wednesday morning, the economy ministry announced.

The premium was available to all owners with a private car registered before January 1, 1996, who were willing to exchange it against a less polluting "Euro 4" class vehicle.

As a result, new car registrations jumped by 12.8 percent in April compared to last year, after they had dropped by 11.5 percent in the previous month. In May, they were up by 4.8 percent, while June figures have yet to be released.

Industry clubs called for the measure to be extended, but a spokesperson for the economy ministry said Wednesday this was "not sensible," noting the lack of funds to keep the premium going.

According to manufacturers, drivers who benefitted from the scheme generally chose smaller cars.

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