What About Cash for Clunkers?


by Byron on Aug 03, 2009 at 1:52 PM

We’ve been kicking around something intelligent to say about Cash for Clunkers. We’re suspect of the label “best stimulus ever.” But getting old cars off the road is good right? Well it just doesn’t sound right.

What do you think of Cash for Clunkers?

Other thoughts from the blogs:

The numbers just don’t seem to add up.

The absolute insanity of this is just staggering.

Cash for Clunkers provides Americans with the chance to do the right thing: Reduce our dependence on oil and curb global warming.

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I’ve been thinking how much bike I could buy for $4500. Could I trade in my car for a bike? Then, it wouldn’t be just about getting old cars off the road; it would help get cars off the road :-)

Like a mass transit stimulus package.

@amymengel wondered the same thing.

It doesn’t seem fair that we have to subsidize the buying of cars. On the other hand, I would be quite happy to help put a cager on a bike.

$4500 would be a pretty sweet bike subsidy.

Since the amount of money you receive is based on the MPG difference between the “clunker” and the new car.  So my Sebring get’s roughly 21 MPG… So with a new bike that’s ∞ - 21… Give me my money uncle sam!

I don’t understand the hate. I’m a cyclist, and I ride more hours a week than I spend in my car, but I realize we live in a car-centric nation that has a lot of problems to deal with due to cars. The Cash for Clunkers program solves a lot of problems with little downside. Let’s break it down:

- we’ve already wasted billions of stimulus package dollars on private american car companies with little to no results

- for just one billion (and now 2-3 more) we can instantly raise the national MPG average and use less fuel and spew less problematic exhaust

- less fuel means less fuel purchases required from middle eastern oil-rich countries. As much as I’m opposed to the Iraq war, buying less gas here would solve a lot of american issues

- For 1% of the stimulus billions we’ve thrown into a hole (and the companies still went bankrupt) we get instant positive change

- obvious economic stimulus to car dealers, which are hurting badly. Usually I couldn’t care less about the health of car dealers but this is good for local economies everywhere.

- the downsides are yeah we now have a couple hundred thousand old cars to recycle

Without reading the Sierra Club’s giant press release on it, I think that’s their position as well. I know the program ran in Europe. It is illogical to just say, “car sucks” give it to me for a bike or get all breathless about peak oil and all that. We live in the world we do and it’s car-centric. We can make a difference yes with our bikes of course, but shouldn’t be ignorant to the world around us.

I agree with Matt Haughey, although I also think those with clunkers ready to ditch cars altogether (in favor of bicycles, mass transit) ought to also be able to turn in their crappy old cars for some sort of rebate.  After all, if they truly are commiting to abandoning cars—they’re making the biggest environmental difference of everyone (and still getting rid of the old cars).  There would have to be some sort of validation that it isn’t just people letting the government pay for their personal junkyard… but that they actually were going to use mass transit or bicycles instead.