12 August, 2009

Cash For Clunkers Ripped Off

UPDATE: at least there's one other person thinking like me.  and a good high profile one, at that.

While Cash For Clunkers is at its heart seemingly a good program, it does have some drawbacks.  As in this little gem of a scheme in Germany, where the cars are just sold again later.  NOT the best outcome.  It would be good if the car dealers there grew a conscience and just injected those engines as well, but my bet is that half of them ARE the element that's turning a profit by reselling those old shit-heaps.

It's not a well-thought-out scheme to begin with, because it brings as many problems as it solves.  And the one problem it does solve best isn't pollution but a kickstart to the economy that was guttering and dying in the USA.  For that, the CfC scheme has been a Godsend, because it gets money out there and circulating again.

Problems it didn't solve:
  • Pollution.  As in the example of Germany, where it just moves the heaps around to spew somewhere else, in the States it just gets people to buy another pollution-spewer.  
  • Transport.  The people who can afford to upgrade their car, whether by trading in, CfC, or whatever else, already have a car.  People who don't have the wherewithal to afford a car, are still just as screwed as before.
Much better would have been to have two wrinkles on the scheme:

  • CfC only available for anyone purchasing an electric, hydrogen, or hybrid car with the rebate.  That would have solved the problem of pollution, and put incentive dollars in the pockets of those that most need them, the clean vehicle industry.
  • Clunkers that are in roadworthy condition to have the engine removed and killed, and a new more efficient and clean engine fitted and then allowed to be resold - but only to individual customers, and at a price no more than the rebate plus the market cost of the engine and fitting.  That would provide cheap cars for those who need them but can't afford them, be they in the States or elsewhere in the world.
Used together those two steps would have solved a lot of hassles and also pulled the sting of the scam being perpetrated in Germany.

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