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Gingersnap
07-07-2009, 01:02 PM
Five Reasons “Cash for Clunkers” is a Joke

Why Cash for Clunkers is more a political maneuver than substantive help for the U.S. auto industry—or the environment.print send e-mail this page

By Steve Siler

With news that Congress has passed its ballyhooed $1 billion “Cash for Clunkers” bill, we feel compelled to voice our skepticism about the program. Here’s the bill in a nutshell: Buyers of new vehicles between July 1 and November 1 will be given a voucher for $3500 if they forfeit a post-1984 car or truck that has been registered for at least one year and has a combined fuel economy rating at least 4 mpg lower than their new vehicle. The voucher grows to $4500 if the increase in fuel economy is 10 mpg or higher. The old car or truck is then crushed and recycled.

Here are five reasons we don’t think this program is worth the time it took to draft it, let alone a billion dollars:

1. The voucher replaces the trade-in deal you might otherwise get from the dealership; it’s not in addition to the car’s private sale or trade-in value. In other words, if you’re trading in a car that’s worth $3000, your net gain is only $500. Although if your car is worth $100, CFC couldn’t come at a better time.

2. We’re not sure how many folks driving cars worth $3500 or less are in the market for a new car in the first place. Sure, there’s the occasional fresh-out-of-college new-hire (we’re not sure who’s hiring right now, but we’ll play make-believe) that might still be ready to move from a Dodge Omni to a shiny new Honda Insight, but people driving cheap old beaters are probably doing so because they can’t afford a new car. And $3500 doesn’t go far when the average transaction price of new cars hovers around $24K. The vouchers don’t apply toward the purchase of used cars, for which the majority of old beaters are traded in.

3. People driving large, gas-gulping old cars and trucks often do so because they need the utility those vehicles provide. Old station wagons, for example, have few modern counterparts that are as versatile while achieving better fuel economy. Ditto pickups, which have gotten bigger and more capable but not much more fuel-efficient. And if the government thinks that someone is going to step out of a 1994 Dodge Ram into a Honda Fit, they need to get out of D.C. a little more often.

4. Naturally, we have some reservations about any bill designed to facilitate wiping out—we’re sorry, recycling—any automotive species. And let’s face it, while there are a lot of bona fide clunkers out there, we’re afraid that a bunch of future classics will get caught in this roundup. We propose, then, that a certified auto enthusiast (paid, of course) be placed at all certified CFC dealerships to screen the cars that are brought in, returning the cool cars—including anything with T-tops—to the streets.

5. Besides cleansing the U.S. of gas-guzzling pigs, the other supposed benefit of the CFC program is to provide a short-term boost to the starving auto business. However, we hope these legislators don’t expect it to meaningfully help the domestic automakers. Many of the automobiles with fuel-economy ratings high enough to qualify for the vouchers come from Japan and Korea.

On the bright side, the cost to taxpayers will be minimal when no one actually participates.

Excellent summary of the witlessness of this program.

Yahoo (http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/1014/Five-Reasons-Cash-for-Clunkers-is-a-Joke)

linda22003
07-07-2009, 01:06 PM
Well, I could trade in a ten year old Saturn, but the Mercedes and BMWs I'm looking at get WORSE gas mileage than it does. :rolleyes:

lacarnut
07-07-2009, 01:22 PM
Well, I could trade in a ten year old Saturn, but the Mercedes and BMWs I'm looking at get WORSE gas mileage than it does. :rolleyes:

Your Saturn would not qualify based on age either. Has to be made prior to 1984.

My brother has an 1980 Olds that he has been thinking about getting rid of. They need a new car. He would probably buy a new car after my dads house gets sold.

linda22003
07-07-2009, 01:24 PM
The article Ginger put up specifically says "post 1984"; did the author mean pre-1984?

Rockntractor
07-07-2009, 01:26 PM
Well, I could trade in a ten year old Saturn, but the Mercedes and BMWs I'm looking at get WORSE gas mileage than it does. :rolleyes:

I just put them on blocks in the back yard when I'm done with them. You never know when your going to buy another one like it and they are handy for parts. I had four gremlins.

stsinner
07-07-2009, 01:30 PM
It's post 1984, and even a 5 year old car will qualify, as long as it gets 18 mpg or less..

But what people don't consider is the taxes when buying a new car, the registration fee, the increased insurance rates and the excise tax for those of us who pay that.. Totally wipes out the incentive money, and then some..

lacarnut
07-07-2009, 01:31 PM
The article Ginger put up specifically says "post 1984"; did the author mean pre-1984?

deleted

stsinner
07-07-2009, 01:38 PM
I, too, am concerned that some classics will get scrapped by desperate people.. And the cars traded in under this program will never be registered or driven again-it's a mandatory scrap program.. Obama is too elitist to appreciate the classics, and so he couldn't give a crap about any of this, as long as he gets his way... This program is going to be a boon for the Japanese..

I listen to a weekly radio program about cars, and this program has been the topic of the show for two weeks now.. As long as there is a 5 mpg increase the car you're buying qualifies.. This even qualifies to trucks, as long as you go from <18mpg to 5 mpg better.. You get either 3500 or 4500, depending on the increase..

lacarnut
07-07-2009, 01:41 PM
The article Ginger put up specifically says "post 1984"; did the author mean pre-1984?

My bad. I thought it was old, old cars. I see these clunkers around town that spew enough emissions to fog the whole street and half your yard. It seems like they would want to get these off the streets also.

linda22003
07-07-2009, 01:44 PM
Presumably people who have actual "classics" recognize them as such and would not trade them in.

lacarnut
07-07-2009, 01:45 PM
I just put them on blocks in the back yard when I'm done with them. You never know when your going to buy another one like it and they are handy for parts. I had four gremlins.

Those Gremlins were creatures for sure.:rolleyes:

stsinner
07-07-2009, 01:51 PM
They've created a website where you can plug in your car and the car you want to buy and see if it qualifies.. You have to use the COMBINED mpg rating...
You can do side-by-side comparisons.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/

linda22003
07-07-2009, 01:55 PM
My bad. I thought it was old, old cars. I see these clunkers around town that spew enough emissions to fog the whole street and half your yard. It seems like they would want to get these off the streets also.

It would make more sense, wouldn't it? I don't see that many elderly cars on my daily commute. In this area I tend to see recent, high-end cars. It would seem that everyone is "rich", but I have to wonder how many of them are leased.

lacarnut
07-07-2009, 02:16 PM
It would make more sense, wouldn't it? I don't see that many elderly cars on my daily commute. In this area I tend to see recent, high-end cars. It would seem that everyone is "rich", but I have to wonder how many of them are leased.

Like that commercial with the guy living in the big house riding a lawnmower; I bet there are some that are in hock up to their eyeballs.

Gingersnap
07-07-2009, 03:58 PM
It would make more sense, wouldn't it? I don't see that many elderly cars on my daily commute. In this area I tend to see recent, high-end cars. It would seem that everyone is "rich", but I have to wonder how many of them are leased.

Those cars are being dealt with through a different mechanism (at least out here in Colorado). For years you used to be able get "collectors'" plates for $12.50 or something ridiculous. Almost all of those plates were on the real clunker cars - the oil-burning, smoker sort of car. Very few were really on valuable restored cars.

Now we are in the process of changing the law to penalize these clunker cars with higher plate fees and tighter emission standards. I expect a lot of states are looking at the same thing.

Rockntractor
07-07-2009, 04:26 PM
Those Gremlins were creatures for sure.:rolleyes:

I drove the first one for a year without a starter. It was our only car.

Teetop
07-07-2009, 04:41 PM
I just put them on blocks in the back yard when I'm done with them. You never know when your going to buy another one like it and they are handy for parts. I had four gremlins.

Got a 1969 or 1970 Mustang Mach 1????


I drove the first one for a year without a starter. It was our only car.

Ya do, what ya gotta do....

I own a 1984 Ford Tempo. Shit brown in color but reliable as hell. I paid $800 for it about 11 years ago,put almost $1200 into it, in those 11 years and it's still running. The $1200 also includes all parts to rebuild it.

I am thinking of buying a 1995 Ford F-150 with 117,000 miles. It's an inline six, but it is in great shape. $3,000...

Am a "hooptie" kinda guy. :)

Rockntractor
07-07-2009, 06:42 PM
Got a 1969 or 1970 Mustang Mach 1????



Ya do, what ya gotta do....

I own a 1984 Ford Tempo. Shit brown in color but reliable as hell. I paid $800 for it about 11 years ago,put almost $1200 into it, in those 11 years and it's still running. The $1200 also includes all parts to rebuild it.

I am thinking of buying a 1995 Ford F-150 with 117,000 miles. It's an inline six, but it is in great shape. $3,000...

Am a "hooptie" kinda guy. :)

Nope! No mustangs I have a 95 T-Bird I want to go through. I love that car. It's the big v-8 no turbo

Teetop
07-08-2009, 12:07 AM
Nope! No mustangs I have a 95 T-Bird I want to go through. I love that car. It's the big v-8 no turbo

4.6? That's not huge....

I want an older car that I can use 12 years, and countless dollars building. Then, I know what it is and what it's made of. I built it.

That's why I want a '69 or '70 Mach 1.