My father drives an old Lincoln town car that has over 300,000 miles on it. That’s right, 300,000. Not only does he drive it, but he commutes over 90 miles each way in it, every day. Everybody who knows him thinks he should have gotten a new car oh, about 100,000 miles ago. But my dad is fanatically frugal and, perhaps more importantly, he simply likes his car. He’s determined to drive that old Lincoln until it simply doesn’t want to drive anymore. Unless the so-called “cash-for-clunkers” bill becomes law. The bill (which the House passed it today) could offer drivers like my dad up to $4,500 towards a new, more fuel-efficient ride. What’s the cash-for-clunkers bill all about? And could you benefit?
The cash-for-clunkers bill would give a $4,500 credit to anybody who trades in an old car for a new(er) vehicle that gets at least ten miles per gallon more, or a $3,500 credit for new cars that get between four and up to 10 MPG better fuel economy. According to the current version of the bill, to qualify, the trade-in vehicle must be model year 1985 or newer, be drivable, and must be destroyed upon trade-in (it cannot be resold). Additionally, the new car purchased must get at least 22 MPG or, if it is a light-duty truck, at least 18 MPG.
Obviously, the cash-for-clunkers bill is intended to eliminate less fuel efficient cars and create an incentive to buy a car (and presumably give a boost to the flagging auto industry). Critics of the bill say that we’re over-incentive people to spend money in certain struggling industries (this program would be akin to the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit designed to stimulate the housing market).
Personally, I think the cash-for-clunkers bill is a great idea. (And not just because I want to see my dad get some new wheels!) Even if the economy (and auto industry, in particular) weren’t in such dire straights, I believe it’s partially our government’s responsibility to begin to find ways to reduce our dependence on oil. Although moving towards more fuel-efficient vehicles isn’t a big a step as, say, developing alternatives to fossil fuels; it’s a start. Plus, this bill pushes for greater fuel efficiency in a model that is true to our free-market economy: Drive a more fuel-efficient car, get a financial incentive. Makes sense to me.
What do you think about the cash-for-clunkers bill? A good idea or too much government involvement? Would you take advantage of the incentive? Let us know!