You know that old Studebaker your Uncle Freddie has in his back yard? The one that makes strange noises and smokes like a paper factory every time he takes it out for a spin? Everyone knows someone who has an old beater like Uncle Freddie’s.
Well, if you can convince old Freddie to give the vehicle to the government and buy a hybrid, for instance, he might just benefit from a stimulus package designed just for people like him who are holding on to old cars that would be better for the environment and everyone in general if they were taken off the road.
If a proposed bill to give consumers turning in old beaters cash vouchers worth as much as $5,000 to buy new, more fuel-friendly cars passes, Uncle Freddie will be in the pink and the Studebaker will be history.
This is the type of forward-thinking innovative legislation we need right now. Getting old fossil fuel-only burning cars off the highway is beneficial for everyone involved. Consumers get a price break on a new car. A fuel-efficient vehicle is added to the American fleet. The dealer selling the car makes a much-needed profit on the vehicle. And the salesman working for the dealer makes a hopefully healthy commission and keeps his tenuous job yet another day. I mean, I’ve heard of a win-win situation, but this is a win-win-win-win situation.
I read this piece from the Detroit News the other day:
A wide-ranging program that would give consumers turning in old clunkers cash vouchers worth up to $5,000 to buy new, more fuel-efficient vehicles was introduced this week in Congress.
The bill aims to boost car sales in the midst of the recession, help struggling consumers buy new cars and cut pollution by taking some of the oldest, dirtiest cars off the road.
An earlier version of so-called “cash for clunkers” incentives ran into union opposition that it could end up favoring imports. To avoid that problem, this new measure awards an extra $1,000 for vehicles assembled in the United States.
The bill proposes giving consumers vouchers to buy new, more fuel-efficient vehicles in exchange for turning in vehicles at least eight years old. The program is dubbed the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save bill, or CARS Act.
Sutton noted that 60 percent of vehicles in the United States are old enough to qualify. The bill would award higher vouchers for vehicles assembled in North America -- up to $5,000 -- versus up to $4,000 vouchers for vehicles assembled outside North America, and would not apply at all to vehicles made outside North America. The proposal was endorsed Tuesday by Detroit's Big Three automakers and the UAW.
To qualify, consumers would have to buy a vehicle more fuel-efficient than their current car or truck. The new vehicles also would have to be priced at $35,000 or less.
The bill would offer a $7,500 cash voucher starting in 2010 for plug-in electric hybrids that get 100 mpg or more. Car owners also could turn in their vehicles in exchange for a mass transit voucher worth up to $3,000.
Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, is among the initial co-sponsors.
GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner told reporters in Washington Tuesday that a bill to offer cash for older cars -- often dubbed "cash for clunkers" -- could benefit the auto industry.
"These kinds of programs can have a huge impact," Wagoner said, saying it could boost consumer confidence. "It would be very helpful to have something like that here in the United States."
"The 'CARS Act' legislation is a win-win-win for consumers, the environment and energy independence," the company said in a statement.
"By providing incentives to purchase a new vehicle, the legislation would help reduce consumer costs, jumpstart the economy and help support millions of good jobs in every state across the nation."
Alan Reuther, legislative director for the United Auto Workers, said the union also supports the bill. "We believe it will stimulate sales of new vehicles, and thus help the industry and create jobs for American workers," Reuther said.
The bill could help speed the improvement of the fuel efficiency of the auto fleet. Automakers must increase the efficiency of their vehicles by at least 40 percent to a fleet-wide 35 mpg by 2020.