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Cash For Clunkers Was A Clinker

How successful has the Cash for Clunkers been? That depends upon your criteria for judging it.

If your criterion for success is participation, Cash for Clunkers is a sure success.

If your criterion for success is assistance to the auto industry, then Cash for Clunkers looks good to you too.

If your criteria are environmental, however, Cash for Clunkers looks like a washout. The benefit of getting people to trade in old cars for new, relatively fuel efficient vehicles promotes the idea of fuel efficiency, and reduces carbon emissions in cars. The program encourages carbon emissions related to the production of cars, however, a footprint that can take years of efficient driving to wash away.

If your criterion is benefit to the economy beyond the auto industry, Cash for Clunkers is a clinker. Yes, the program stimulated auto sales, but it appears that the increase in auto sales led people to spend less in other areas of the economy, according to an analysis by the New York Times. Overall sales in July decreased, though they had been expected to increase.

The Cash for Clunkers program is not sustainable, and it doesn’t point us in the right direction for the future. What we need is not emergency CPR for America’s car economy, but true transportation reform to establish post-car methods of environmentally sensible and economically affordable ways of getting around.

4 thoughts on “Cash For Clunkers Was A Clinker”

  1. le pelerin says:

    When will someone invent a personal lottle aircraft we could fly. That would be efficient, no sitting in traffic and the need for large roads would be diminished. We just need some ingenuity.

    1. Jim says:

      I’d like to live in a town where we all lived at the top of a cliff, took hang gliders to work in the valley below, and had the gymnasium bikes and treadmills hooked up to a pulley system to bring the hang gliders back up the cliff. That would be really cool.

      I’m guessing that aircraft would be less fuel-efficient, but if they designed them so that they were more fuel-efficient than cars, I’d sign up. Fun!

  2. Donate Car USA says:

    Your recent coverage of Cash for Clunkers legislation was spot on. Many people will not qualify for the government program so I thought you might be interested in more info on vehicle donation alternatives to the Cash for Clunkers program. You could help charities a lot by adding a link to our informational page on Cash for Clunkers versus charitable car donation –

    Charity Assistance Team
    Donate Car USA and for more than 400 charities

    1. Jim says:

      And of course your company gets a cut. Spam.

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