Congress: Cash For Clunkers

January 15, 2009

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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