Washington politicians, drunk with power from the inauguration of The One, want to offer you cash to take your clunker off the road to buy a new greener car. Worst idea ever.
The "Cash for Clunkers" bill was introduced last week by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Charles Schumer (D-NY) in a bid to help the economy by boosting spending on car purchasing and increase putatively more sustainable vehicles on the road.
The program would exchange crummy, old, heavy and polluting junkers for coupons between $2,500 and $4,500 for a private owner or $50 for dealers and scrappers. The cars must have been registered for at leaast 120 days prior to trade in, get 18 MPG or worse and be in generally drivable condition. The hope is that with coupon in hand, you'll buy a new car to both clean up the air and stimulate the economy.
We're wholeheartedly opposed to this idea for two reasons. First, it'll severely reduce the crop of future $500 beaters available for LeMons racing. Second, it shows a lack of understanding of "sustainability." The environmental cost associated with building a new vehicle outweigh the savings associated with increasing your fuel consumption by anything but an astronomically high number (think 150%). So unless people are trading in old Suburbans for Vespas, you'll be hurting the environment more than helping it. The one benefit we can get behind is the auto industry stimulus that would occur from added sales. However, it would be a one-time hit — not a real solution to the many things that really ail the industry.