There’s at least one group of people who are happy Cash for Clunkers is over: demolition-derby drivers. Participants in these events, in which drivers smash into one another until there’s only one engine left running, don’t enjoy the sight of old cars going out of commission without making a pit stop at the county fairground. “Obama is an anti-demo-derby guy,” says Tory Schutte, head of the Demolition Derby Drivers Association. “He’s targeting the cars we’ve been using.”
The government released a listing of all cars traded in for the Cash for Clunkers program. I had admonished the Big Money for claiming the 240 was a Clunker. Turns out they were almost correct. According to Cars.gov, one particular model of one particular year has been deemed to have a fuel economy rating of 18 mpg. Huh? I’ve got to investigate…
After spending the morning finalizing my design for a “Save the Clunkers” t-shirt, it turns out the C4C program will end Monday. Let’s hope the government’s servers can handle the last-minute rush from people who were on the fence about trading in their old Mercury Marauders for Honda Fits.
Please give me a vote of “6” at the 6 dollar t-shirts site. If I get enough votes you’ll be able to buy the shirt for… $6.
Slate’s finance site “The Big Money” launched in fall of 2008, while I was working at Condé Nast’s competing finance site Portfolio.com. Just because I got laid off in a round of firings at Halloween doesn’t mean I harbor any ill-will towards “The Big Money”. Two separate sites with two different agendas. OK.
Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, WTF is up with “The Big Money”?! They’ve posted a photo album of cars they claim will be junked in C4C. Both the intro and first slide feature a Volvo 240. Sorry, but our precious bricks get better than 18MPG and aren’t eligible for C4C. While Matt DeBord’s copy is cute, it’s obvious he didn’t do his research. They had to pull the BMW 325, diesel Mercedes and Mazda Miata (!) slides after a commenter pointed out they have better fuel economy than the program calls for.
Matt, please visit cars.gov. It’s a horrible site, I know, but somewhere beneath the UI you’ll find eligibility requirements and a list of vehicles. Dry the tears from your eyes, stand up and rejoice! Four of the ten cars you’ve mourned as dead will still be here to drive another day.
Some of the commenters on a Jalopnik “Cash for Clunkers” thread (C4C) were hoping for “Save the Clunkers” T-Shirts, so I put together a couple of quick images. They would be a 2-color silk screen, one black, one white. If anyone wants to produce these, contact me at boucher002 at yahoo dot com.
UPDATE: I posted a cleaned-up design of the van illustration to sixdollarshirts.com . Vote now!
The Truth About Cars ran a sky-is-falling-on-old-bricks post but I think the fear of losing RWD Volvos is misguided. They don’t qualify for the CAT program, as they get average gas mileage.
This video documents the death of an Olds Aurora, which qualified because of the V8 engine. Oil is drained, then a solution of water and silica sand is poured in. The car is turned on and run until the engine seizes. Not for the squeemish.
The concept for the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program was dumb to begin with. Now that it’s actually been implemented it’s turned into a fiasco of confusion, misinformation and waste.
The biggest disaster is the fact that it ran out of money only FOUR DAYS into the four month long program. Original budgeted for $1 billion dollar through November, it now may get another $2 billion dollars to fund the $4500 checks cut to dealers who accept car buyers junk.
I’m surprised it ran out of money considering the misinformation that’s been pumped out by some dealers about the program. Take the funny promotion pictured above by a dealer in Springfield,VA. Since the Fed requires that eligible cars get less than 18mpg average city/highway there’s no way that Toyota Corolla would qualify. I saw a TV commercial last night that showed an econobox POS that the voiceover stated could be turned to gold. Unless the dealer is planning on absorbing the discount when the DOT rejects the rebate application, buyers are being given a bait-and-switch. In addition the EPA adjusted its figures right before the program started, so the mileage listed on the original sticker may not match what the DOT sees as eligible.
Once a car has been accepted, government rules require it be given a lethal injection of sodium silicate to disable and destroy the engine, then be scrapped. See that beautiful black beemer to the left? Scrap metal.