San Diego County
Gentlemen, Start Your Wrecking Crane: The first of 1,000 pre-1982 cars that the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District is buying back in a bid to reduce smog will be flattened today at a wrecking yard in San Diego. The car, a 1980 Ford Pinto, will be flattened to 18 inches high and sold as scrap to a state-licensed dismantler. Working through San Diego Environmental Exchange, a private contractor, the district pays $700 for cars made in 1981 or earlier, provided they are registered and in working order. Sellers also receive a $300 voucher from one of 20 participating new-car dealers. The program was designed to help rid the county of vehicles that account for an estimated 30% of San Diego County’s air pollution. Before the cars are flattened, the engine blocks are pierced to prevent them from being recycled, SDEE Vice President Jim Lantry said. The catalytic converters are also smashed to prevent reuse.