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Outraged over Cash for Clunkers
I don’t usually get angry enough to try to write my Congressmen and try to get friends
and family involved on a political issue, but the version of “Cash for Clunkers” that
made it through the House infuriates me, and now the Senate is moving to approve the same
bill with the backing of the President.
Here is the provision in the bill that gets my goat: “Owners of sport utility vehicles,
pickup trucks or minivans that get 18 mpg or less could receive a voucher for $3,500 if
their new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than their old vehicle. . . . A group of
senators led by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein were pushing an alternative version
that would require consumers to trade up for more fuel-efficient cars and trucks to
qualify. They complained that even a 2009 Hummer H3T, which gets 14 mpg in city driving
and 18 mpg on the highway, could qualify for the incentives under the House bill.”
In other words, if this thing passes, my tax dollars can be used to pay someone to buy a
gas-guzzling hummer just because they previously chose to own an even more gas-guzzling
This provision surely demonstrates that this is not an environmental bill. It is yet
another example of Detroit leading Congress along by the nose as they have for decades –
at the expense of the public interest. At this late hour, when GM is going belly up and
we are bailing them out, we are still subsidizing their ability to move vehicles off the
lot that were not only bad business decisions, but harmful in their impact on both the
environment and our national security (through continued dependence on foreign oil)
rather than pushing them to move vehicles that truly benefit the public.
Please encourage your Congressmen and President to back the alternative Feinstein bill.
"Under Feinstein's plan, a passenger car owner's trade-in would need to get 17 mpg or
less to qualify and only new passenger cars getting at least 24 mpg would be eligible.
Owners could receive a $2,500 voucher for a new car that gets at least 7 mpg more than
their old car. The voucher would increase to $3,500 for new cars with a 10 mpg
improvement and $4,500 for new cars with a 13 mpg increase in fuel efficiency." (Seattle
If we subsidize people to purchase 16mpg vehicles (which will be on the road for many
years to come), I find it hard to imagine that we can muster the political courage to
make the truly difficult sacrifices that will be necessary to effectively curb climate
Not the best place to start your green energy engines
What's worse is that this cash for clunkers program was riding on the back of a military funding bill. If the program has merit, it should stand on its own, not sneak in the backdoor. I really don't understand why my (and your) tax dollars have to be spent to buy someone else a new car. It's theft - pure and simple. I'm all for making good, green choices. But this is hardly the mechanism to allow it
On a further note, something that is being done correctly is the solar energy incentives. At least here, the government is rewarding good behavior, and not bailing out previous poor choices. Do you know that there is enough solar radiation that hits the earth in a single day to meet the world's power demands for one year. With reduced manufacturing costs, better technology, the current incentives and utility rebates in place, now is the time to make some green energy choices. And energy generation is the best place to start.
Cash for clunkers is nothing more than a hand out.
I don't think any tax dollars should go to the purchase of any car that gets less than 25 or 30 mpg. It's ridiculous that me as a small business owner can go buy one Hummer H2 and get more tax incentives than if I were to buy several hybrids or clean diesel cars.
If I were designing the bill I would eliminate the tax breaks for vehicles over 6,000 lbs like the H2 and create two tiers. A smaller rebate or tax credit for vehicles over 30 mpg that would be temporary. Then a larger rebate or tax credit for hybrids and clean diesels that get over 30 mpg that would be more long term and the mileage requirement would go up every couple years.
I would also look at giving incentives to businesses that own fleets of vehicles, like taxi companies and delivery services, to start buying hybrids and clean diesels.
By requiring the cars to be hybrids and clean diesels with higher mileage standards to get any of the incentives (we don't need a hybrid Escalade or Hummer!) it would send a very clear message to Detroit that we are going to put up with their crap anymore and they better get with the program.
Greener People for a Greener World TM
In retrospect, I think Cash for Clunkers was kind of a disaster. Our country's government basically borrowed money we didn't have so that we could write a big check to Japan and Korea.
Personally, I think the ultra high fuel economy that comes from owning a Hybrid or an advanced diesel is reward enough. If we're going to subsidize these purchases, we could have at least waited until American car companies had competitive offerings in this area.