Cash for Clunkers Gets a $2 Billion Fill-Up


Fill ‘er up, please!

That was the cry of the auto industry as the billion-dollar coffers that funded the popular Cash for Clunkers program dried up within a week and a half.

Luckily for car dealers, the U.S. government came through for them again, as President Obama signed a bill sending another $2 billion into the program designed to bring shoppers back into showrooms.

We’ve lamented the program here before, so there’s really no need to tear into it again.

But I like to, so I’m gonna.

I’ve heard too many stories like this one from reader Greg Smith, who left a comment on this story. Greg says,

Cash for clunkers is a slap in the face to anyone attempting to save the environment before it was the flavor of the day. I have done my best for conserve resources my entire adult life (49yrs old). I have always purchased vehicles with the smallest engine possible to accomplish the task needed which makes none of them qualify for this program. Of the 3 vehicle I own, the newest one is 11 years old and has 165,000 miles but they originally all got better mileage than the program requirements. So instead of being rewarded for our responsibility, we get nothing but the dissatisfaction of paying for everyone else’s irresponsibility.

He’s absolutely right. The people who tried to do the right thing and conserve years ago are being punished today by being banned from benefiting from the Cash for Clunkers program.

Environmental scientists say there will be no measurable impact on carbon emissions from the program. So why not expand the program so people like Greg can be included? Why not allow cars made prior to 1984 qualify, so those 1972 Ford trucks get taken off the road too?

Cash for Clunkers is merely a tiny baby step in reducing the cars that pollute most from our highways. While we could have taken a giant leap by expanding the program, I guess at the very least I should be happy we took a step in the right direction for once.

I just wish people like Greg hadn’t gotten left behind.

Do you think Cash for Clunkers should have been given a $2 billion fill-up?



  1. As the economy became the doubtful some private sectors tries to came up with their own stimulus plan. Maybe they don’t still want to seek for government financial aid , tus thery try came with their own solution. With regard to this, dealers have their own automotive stimulus plan, to go with the one that the government cooked up. The dealer’s automotive stimulus plan is not, repeat NOT, a government program. How it works is that dealers will put up $500 to $4500 of incentives of their own money for customers to trade in their old vehicles, but unlike the federal Cash for Clunkers program, customers are offered the rebates on used cars. Some Congressmen are less than thrilled that the cash advances they put into the program could potentially have been avoided. However, the short term loans of the automotive stimulus plan of dealers is entirely self funded, entirely up to the dealership.

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  2. I feel that this thing was rushed through so fast that no one really thought of “the law of unintended consequences” for this program. I predict that there will be some very undesirable side effects, mainly having to do with a “vehicle foreclosure crisis” in six months when people realize that they cannot continue to pay $400 to $800 a month for a vehicle when their old vehicle was paid for and very serviceable. Also, dumping all these old vehicles into the recycle bin at one time certainly cannot be a good thing. All that metal, oil, transmission fluid, ozone-killing R-12, glass, rubber, paint, and other materials must be dealt with in some manner. That’s not free! Who pays for the removal of Freon from all those cars? Who recycles that Freon (R-12)? Where do all those old tires go? The law of unintended consequences is already starting to show up perhaps. I think this whole program was a mistake, just like the ill-fated “stimulus” that has not worked either.

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