UPDATE: Cash-4-Clunkers Impact

By | January 7, 2013

Remember this program? One of the first ideas from the Obama administration was to enable people to trade in their old cars for new fuel efficient, green cars thus bolstering the floundering auto industry. Free money to buy a new, car from the government? What could go wrong?

A lot of us sitting on the sidelines, with real life experience, expected that things wouldn’t go as planned. And they didn’t. As always, when taking a plan from chalk board to reality, there are unexpected consequences. Here were just a few:

Program didn’t help poor people and hurt many. Of course, those with real clunkers, couldn’t afford a new car no matter.  Auto_scrapyard_1What the program could have done was allow people to upgrade from their super gas guzzler to a more efficient used car. Instead, the used car market crashed because the Cash-4-Clunkers program required the older cars to be destroyed. Those I knew personally who participated were going to buy a new car anyway that year but simply took advantage of the free government money.

CNN Money estimated taxpayers about $24,000 per car.

Ouch.  

But surely the program did help the bailed out and struggling American automotive industry?

See for yourself: The top ten vehicles purchased using the program

1.Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus FWD
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape FWD

Double Ouch.

So at least the program was helpful to the environment. Right?

Not according to E The Environment Magazine.

You remember the 3 R’s of helping the environment: reduce, reuse, and recycle? Apparently, the Obama administration missed this part. Because the car engines had to be destroyed, even though most were still in good operating condition, they were not reused. According to the Automotive Recyclers Association up to 95% of a car, including the fluids could be recycled. But since the regulations required a freeze up the engines many of the cars were sent to the scrap yard bypassing the recycling centers. Because the mandate demanded quick destruction of the used vehicles salvageable parts were not available, raising prices at the salvage yards and toxic residue was lost to the environment with waste was added to the landfills. Even MSN Now called the program an environmental wreck.

In the meantime, my friend who had a clunker car that she struggled to get through local emissions tests could not afford to buy even new ‘used’ car because their prices suddenly shot up.

Are you surprised? Common sense caused me to realize this was a program that had not been thought through. The consequences were surely ‘unexpected’ to this administration. It’s a darn shame this update was not widely shared prior to the election. Perhaps even the ‘greenies’ would have rethought their position.

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