Congress’s stimulus package included a proposal to pay drivers to junk their old cars in return for cash to buy a new car. Luckily, it just died this week.
The “Cash for Clunkers” program would have given up to $10,000 to people of cars older than 10 years as long as they used it to buy a new American car. The idea was that it would pull allegedly polluting deathtraps off the road and jump start Detroit. But it was such a dumb, misguided idea that we can rejoice in its defeat.
I’d been putting together some links to make a mega-post about the subject, but it’s moot now. So here’s a link dump.
• Freakonomics points out what should be obvious; people who drive older cars aren’t the kind of people who are in the market for a new car. They buy used!
• The Truth About Cars takes a look at the potential for fraud. If you were in the market for a new car, wouldn’t you try to find the cheapest POS on CraigsList and get it to limp into the federal garage for your incentive check?
• SEMA opposed the program because it would do more harm than good. How many crap cars are really out there anyway, and do we really need to scrap them when they could have perfectly good parts that could be picked and pulled?
• Hot Rod Magazine follows a similar logic and opposes the scrapping of cars that could be candidates for restoration and repair.
• Wired points out that if you want to do something about global warming, buy a used car. “…it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt — one you won’t pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.”
Here’s hoping “Cash for Clunkers” doesn’t raise its ugly head again in the near future.