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Congress: Cash For Clunkers


1979 Chrysler Cordoba

1979 Chrysler Cordoba

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Got a '79 Chrysler Cordoba (RIP Ricardo Montalban) with cracked corinthian leather gobbling cash at the pump and spewing hydrocarbons from its ill-tempered carburetor? Congress is considering a proposal that would reward Americans up to $4,500 if they yield their inefficient cars to scrapping companies and buy a high-mpg modern car instead.

Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein of California believes such a move might stimulate new car purchases from the Big Three, helping to get the bleeding U.S. auto industry on the mend and towards profitability. Bill co-sponsor Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from California, also feels that the proposed legislation would stimulate our ailing economy. Nice to see two-party rancor morph into cooperative respect when times are tough for the populace.

The bill ultimately hopes to cease operation of up to one million egregious consumers (vehicles, not people) per year, which would in turn save from 40,000 to 80,000 barrels of fuel per day by the fourth year of implementation. Stipulations: for the cash reimbursement, replacement purchases must exceed federal targets for its class by 25 percent, must have an MSRP of less than $45,000, and be a model year 2004 or later.

No, you can't turn in your dead project car for cash; trade-in vehicles must be drivable, registered in the U.S., and have EPA fuel economy ratings of less than 18 mpg at time of original retail.

Cost of this program is estimated at between $1 billion and $2 billion per year.

[source: Detroit News]

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Comments (4)
  1. "No Cash for SUV (er, clunkers)"

    It's not quite a good idea. Frankly, I resent what looks like a bailout of those SUV buyers who find themselves with an unsellable gas hog, while people with 25 mpg cars can't qualify. There's a better way to spend a couple billion per year.
     
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  2. "What about this...."

    If Congress is willing to do this, which I agree with Joe is a bailout to consumers with either bad judgement or priorities, but is having difficulty in helping the big three, why not combine the ideas. Instead of giving Detroit cash to hold them over until when and if business picks up, why not put together an incentive package to all consumers to buy big three made cars? This way no money is spent unless it goes to improves business conditions, and if it doesnt help and and one or all of the big three fails taxpayer losses are minimized. Also, it benefits consumers as well as the big three. Maybe if more people bought some of the newer American car designs they'd like them. This may be a crazy idea but shouldn't someone think about it?
     
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  3. "Pre-1970 cars have no MPG rating"

    So my 1963 Chevy II Nova hardtop is ineligible?? GREAT!! There was no EPA when it was made so there are no fuel mileage rating for it.
     
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  4. "terrible idea"

    If this passed, why won't someone just buy a $300 car at auction, and immediately trade it in to steal the $4500 dollars from taxpayers. This is a terrible idea.
     
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