Nissan GT-Rs Purchased Via UK Cash For Clunkers Law Loophole

Illustration for article titled Nissan GT-Rs Purchased Via UK Cash For Clunkers Law Loophole

The problem with "Cash For Clunkers" legislation is they have holes big enough to drive a Nissan GT-R through them. In the UK, the holes are big enough to drive two GT-Rs through.

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Scrappage laws like "Cash For Clunkers" are meant to stimulate the economy and cut down on greenhouse emissions by providing an incentive for consumers to trade in older, more environmentally-unfriendly vehicles for newer, more fuel efficient vehicles.

Unlike other European countries that hate old cars, the UK didn't bother to put limitations on price, consumption, or emissions of the cars purchased under the scrappage laws, so you can trade in your junker and get a Cadillac Escalade if you like. Two noteworthy hoons traded their cars in on a pair of Nissan GT-R's which, under the best possible conditions, could get 21 MPG if you could keep your foot off the yeehaw pedal. That consumption puts it in the highest tax bracket for emissions, something like the US gas guzzler tax. This is a perfect example of why scrappage or "cash for clunker" incentives are silly. The free market has already established a time honored life-cycle for a car, and interrupting it with an unnatural incentive for scrapping it before its time is just asking for trouble, especially if those incentives are paid for with tax dollars. Not to mention it puts sweet old steel in peril for no good reason. [AutoTrader]

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DISCUSSION

hello-mister-walrus-old
Hello Mister Walrus

The problem is that the environment is a public good. Individuals don't have incentives to preserve the environment if it means sacrificing their own consumption. Plus, they only have short term utility (unlike countries, which last for many lifetimes). That's why people believe that government regulation is necessary, including getting rid of old polluting vehicles.

You can't rationally argue that because one such program has loopholes, all similar programs will fail. Furthermore, the two GTRs do not reflect on the entire pool of cars that were obtained through this program. Maybe a vast majority of the cars were mini cars that get 40 mpg. The issue of "stimulating the economy" is also not addressed.

Did emissions decrease overall as a result of this program? What were the effects on the UK economy? These are two unanswered questions that define whether your argument is valid.