Cash For Clunkers Plan Dies In The Senate

An extreme version of the "Cash For Clunkers" plan is dead in the Senate after industry objections and concerns about the size of the stimulus package. Sorry, your 1991 Saturn SL is worth $1,200 again.

This version of the entirely wrong-headed ideal would have given owners of vehicles over 10-years-old up to $10,000 to trade in their old clunker for a new model. The idea was to stimulate auto sales and encourage people to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. Eligible new vehicles would have to be made in the US, return at least 25 MPG (passenger vehicles) or 20 MPG (trucks), get 5 MPG better than the old car being traded in and have been purchased prior to January 16. To be eligible, vehicle owners would have had to earn less than $75,000 a year and own less than three vehicles.

The auto industry had several objections. First, the "Made in the USA" requirement would exclude many Mexican-made vehicles from domestic automakers and would have violated several trade agreements. Dealers were also concerned by their need to front the $10,000, then wait for a reimbursement from the Treasury. Lastly, the plan would have cost $16 Billion, only enough for 1.6 million new vehicles.

The more modest plan we told you about earlier is still under consideration. It gives owners of vehicles returning less than 18 MPG vouchers for up to $4,500 towards a more fuel-efficient vehicle. It would also see dealers and salvage titles trade in for all of $50 (less than the price of scrap steel. This proposal is being opposed by the UAW who claim such a voucher would favor foreign automakers. We also consider the bill dubious in it's overall environmental impact claims and we don't like the idea of the government pushing the perfectly good jalopies we all know and love off the road. [via Freep]