7 Cash For Clunkers Reactions Worth Reading

The long-awaited “Cash for Clunkers” program kicked off today, with most dealers reporting a strong early reaction from potential car buyers. Early this morning, the Department of Transportation website responsible for registering the trade-ins overloaded. “This is the first day for registration, and there were 30,000 dealers around the country trying to get into the system,” DOT spokesman Rae Tyson told The Rochester Democrat And Chronicle.

The success of the program is being closely monitored, as rumors swirl that Congress may try to extend the deal past its November 1 deadline and allocate new money if it shows results. But there are several issues other than sales volume that may deserve consideration as well—some of which you probably haven’t heard before.

1It Will Increase Emissions, Not Decrease Them

“It shows a lack of understanding of ‘sustainability.’ The environmental cost associated with building a new vehicle outweigh the savings associated with increasing your fuel consumption by anything but an astronomically high number (think 150%). So unless people are trading in old Suburbans for Vespas, you’ll be hurting the environment more than helping it. The one benefit we can get behind is the auto industry stimulus that would occur from added sales. However, it would be a one-time hit—not a real solution to the many things that really ail the industry.”

The auto blog Jalopnik, in a January post that was critical of the proposed program.

2There Will Be a “Consumer Backlash”

“(It’s) nothing more than a clever slogan for a program to spend $1 billion of our tax dollars to find a government-subsidized vehicle trade-in to help new car dealers sell cars… Consumers will soon learn that they are simply trading in their vehicles and will still have to jump through all of the hoops to qualify for and purchase a new vehicle.”

Kathleen Schmatz, CEO and president of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, which represents used car suppliers, distributors and retailers. The used car industry expects to suffer as a result of the program.

3There’s a Potential for Fraud

“Substantial opportunity exists for fraudulent diversion of the trade-in vehicle, largely because its still-functioning engine makes it attractive to return the vehicle to the road rather than relegate it to the scrap yard.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is requiring car dealers to disable the engines of clunkers before they’re sent to scrap yards by running an engine-destroying compound through them. Still, the NTSB admits there are likely to be those who attempt to con the system.

4It Won’t Save the Auto Industry

“Retail sales for 2009 are expected to be only incrementally affected by the Cash for Clunkers program, as many consumers don’t understand the specifics of the program, and if they do, they often find they don’t qualify for the incentive.”

Gary Dilts of J.D. Power and Associates in a press release. Many analysts think Cash for Clunkers will cause car buyers to time their purchase around the program, creating few actual new sales.

5It Hurts the Working Poor

“Maybe the new cars will get better mileage. But what about the people who can’t afford to buy a new car? They need transportation. And if they don’t have it, they won’t be able to get to work.”

Roger Penn, whose charity “Car Ministry” fixes up used cars and gives them to single mothers. Penn told NPR that he’s worried that vehicle donations will slow to a crawl during the program and that there will be no used cars affordable or available to people who desperately need them to get to work.

6“Cash For Hummers”

“If you’re cruising around in a gas gulper that gets just 14 miles per gallon, you can receive the money from the government if you were to trade it in for a Hummer H3T pickup, which gets 16 miles per gallon. Federal subsidy. For that.”

Steve Inskeep, co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition.

7Good Vibes for Green Cars

“One positive effect the bill could have, though, is simply to further advance the presence of ‘fuel efficiency’ as a reward term in the skeptical American consumer market. Yes, hybrids continue to sell, but not to 99% of the population. The bill could, albeit in a relatively minor way, serve to advance an attitude that places importance on fuel efficiency in the future.”

Blogger Brian Merchant of TreeHugger.com.


  • 1st

    Typical. Nothing the government does seems to work.

  • bhgdrn

    More government mumbo-jumbo.

    Common sense is a scarce commodity in Wash DC.

  • bhgdrn

    Watch Glenn Beck on Fox News at 5PM for more Madness in OUR Capital.

  • Collin Burnell

    Hmmm. ‘Nothing the government does seems to work.’

    Where did you pull that brilliant comment out of?

    Common sense is a scarce commodity in the responses to this article as well. Criticize, criticize, criticize… that’s all you have to contribute?

    Well thanks but no thanks!

  • Gerald Shields

    On the 7 reactions, I doubt there will be a consumer backlash. Also, cash for clunkers baring any attempt to defraud the government takes clunkers off the road, not recycles them. Let’s be real: After about 5-10 years, there’s not gonna be a lot of aftermarket parts to support these clunkers, so why recycle them as used cars?

  • Gerald Shields

    Moreover, the base price on a H3T is $30,750. Even with the rebate, can one afford that?

  • Republican

    ” Watch Glenn Beck on Fox News at 5PM for more Madness in OUR Capital. “

    Nah, The Ed Show on MSNBC is much better.

  • moishe k

    http://www.cars.gov/files/Cars-home.pdf

    last line says ” social security MEMBERS not required “

    just shows you how well managed this program is

  • Anonymous

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;

    that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government,

    laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315

  • srland

    Keeping people in debt is how the powers to be remain in power.
    Instead of supporting debt growth and feeding the will to do, it would make more since to take the same amount of money and buy everyone poor family (30K and less) a small hot water and P.V. solar systems, some blow in insulation maybe.

  • srland

    We are the rulers of the Goverment.
    We need to be more proactive in directing our goverment to make it work better.
    So get to work, call your goverment reps now, tommorrow and get everyone else to do it.

  • Gerald Shields

    I hate to say this, but I hear all these comments dissing Cash For Clunkers and I have a question of all of you: If you have a gas-guzzling clunker, what would you buy to get the rebate? In other words, it up to you. Do you want to pay less at the pump or are you just punka## sucker for punishing your wallet? No one is stopping to for paying for a gas guzzler and blowing $40 – $100 a week at the pump. Stop blaming the government for what you think they won’t do. Come on. Most of you folks will get a Prius in a heartbeat. If you get a Hummer H3T then you must be one rich b***h then.

  • Tasty Cakes

    Cash for clunkers is all BS for cars. Your car has to get 18 or less MPG. Not everyone drives Cadillac Devilles and Buick Roadmasters or cars that weigh 4k lbs and have V-8s in them. I found that even the smaller V-8 (4.3L) 199x Chevy Caprice wouldn’t qualify for Cash for Clunkers, LOL.

    Also, model year 1997, only 7 out of 80 “Family Sedan” class cars would qualify for Cash for Clunkers…

    I would gladly trade my 94 Civic DX along w/ my 07 Civic Si in a heart beat for a 10 Insight if my 94 Civic DX qualified. The Insight gets 50% better fuel economy than both my cars and it still doesn’t qualify. Yet the dude driving a old truck can qualify if his new car gets a whopping 14% increase in fuel economy, but my 50% increase doesnt???? What a joke.

    Great plan Obama, reward the guys driving 14 MPG trucks but not the already responsible ones…

  • af

    It’s a complete joke. I have two cars that don’t qualify. I have an 1987 Chyrsler New Yorker and 2002 Toyota Sienna and both have an EPA rating of 19 MPG. It only helps truck and SUV owners.

  • Kwame

    Those are some interesting points. I always thought the program’s biggest downfall was that not many people could benefit from it. The rebate is simply not enough for many people.

  • crut100

    There is one phrase that sums this up perfectly…”our tax dollars at Waste.” This is just pathetic.

  • bc

    I looked into the program to replace my 1997 Dodge Neon, but it doesn’t qualify? Seriously? It does get decent gas mileage for being that old, but come on this makes no sense. I’d be being a car that gets double the case mileage, but without the $4500, I could never afford to do it.

  • BoilerCivicHy

    For those of you that posted here saying the rest are complainers and never happy, I have one question, have you even read the legislation? Of course thats the same question I have for our congressman and representatives for the stuff they vote on. This is not a cash for clunkers program, it does not get old, poluting cars of the road. If you have a 1997 Honda Civic that gets say 30 Mpg, but is blowing blue smoke and burning a quart of oil a day into the environment, this bill does nothing to entice that person to get rid of that car. This thing was set up so that so few people will actually qualify its not even funny. And the people who could qualify, well, they probably cannot afford the payments on a new car, so how well are we doing now? This bill is just one more example of a politcal news story with no substance behind it, its propaganda, which is perfect for a country that is becoming more and more socialist. Let me know when you get your rebate comrade.

  • Ug

    This is the dumbest set of self serving comments I have seen in a long time.

  • A_d_e_w

    Yeah. Cash4Clunkers. My vehicle is over 15 years old. You’d think I would qualify as a vehicle that old is a clunker right? WRONG! They go by what the manufacture says that the MPG is for your car (or what is reported to a government website for Fuel Economy). They set the qualifying MPG so high, that hardly anyone can benefit from this. I will, thanks to this program, be driving around in a gas hog until they raise the MPG bar. I drive a ’91 GMC Sonoma 2WD Manual 5 speed. I would gladly trade it in for a Toyota Prius…that is if the manufacturer didn’t say I get 23 MPG. (I have never gotten that).

  • MJ77

    For anyone that has ever been to this web site the program is not for you. This is officially the worst article ever posted on this web site and is a joke. This program is a great idea and can’t hurt at all. I personally know many people taking advantage of this program and just get people buying new cars thinking of MPG’s as part of their purchases is a win.

  • steved28

    Well, it may not be for everyone, but I just picked up a brand new Nissan Versa for my daughter and said goodbye to my 97 F-150. The truck would have been off the road shortly anyway, but my daughter never would have been in a brand new car otherwise. So it did stimulate a sale, there is no doubt. But I admit, it’s a fortunate few that would be in my situation.

  • autostry

    I still believe that the cash for clunkers program isn’t going to do anything for the automotive industry.

  • SSS

    This program is another way to reward the pigs who bought the SUV’s. These people never cared about our environment. How do you think all that trash gets on the side of the road. Because they don’t care. My brothers and sisters who have been driving small cars since the VW know what I am saying. If we don’t buy there big machines, they will be forced to build what we want or fail. If they fail, the smart and innovative thinkers that become jobless won’t be out of work long. They will form small companies that build green cars. This is where the government can step in with the money to help. Investing green. We don’t just need to build electric cars. We need to find ways to feed the grid without burning fossil fuels. I would rather make payments on a fuel cell in my home that produces electricity. If everyone does this the pigs will pay extra for there excesses and the frugal will profit for supplying more than they use.

  • BoilerCivicHy

    I will throw one more dagger at the cash for clunkers program, for those that say at least its generating car sales. It is now believed that this program will actually be worse for the environment than if you had left the supposed “clunkers” on the road. Why, you say? Because it generates about ten times the amount of emissions to build a car than any of those clunkers would have generated over the saved emissions of the new car. So basically, in order to sell a few more cars, and again bailout a crappy US auto industry, we are going to pollute our environment even more. Its just par for the course for a government program, and people want them to run healthcare, egad!!!!

  • MJ77

    Lakecntyboiler- think oil independence.

    My local paper said 32 people were camped out monday morning to take part of the program. “75% of them went with cars that had far better MPG’s”… That is what the local dealer said.

  • Moe

    I drive a ’91 Lexus and it gets about 16 mpg.. I’m using the CARS program and the hybrid tax credit to afford a Fusion. Hopefully I can get approved before the money supporting the bill dries up.

  • Badaabum

    So what if I want to trade in my old dinger that gets 14 MPG for a HummerH3 that gets 16mpg. That would be a Hummer for a dinger?

  • BoilerCivicHy

    Hey, I am all for oil indepence, I drive two hybrids already. I am just saying the government is trying to sell this thing as an ENVIRONMENTAL BILL, and the studies say that in the long run for every car turned in, even if every single person bought a Prius, the effect would be worse on the environment, factories produce way more emissions than any single car. Don’t let them try to sell you a bill of goods, call them out when they flat out lie, and I would be interested to know what the 32 people were driving that qualified, and what “far better gas mileage” actually means.

  • BrianB

    No government or business program will solve all problems. This is an expensive program that will increase the national debt, but Reaction 1) ignores the fact that trading in low mileage vehicles for higher mileage vehicles will save gasoline and oil.

  • DieselFan

    Just traded a 98 Explorer for a new Escape 4 banger. So, I’m grateful for the “Clunkers” program. I haven’t seen it advertised as an environmental thing as much as lowering the need for foreign oil and mostly getting car sales moving again.

    It would have been another year or two before I dumped the old Explorer without the Clunkers deal. The old Explorer was in great shape with 110,665 on the odo., and I really hate the thought that they’re gonna crush it! Seems like a real waste.

    I’m also amazed at engine technology. I’ve had 3 Ford SUV’s. An 88 BroncoII 2.9L V6 rated at 140 HP, the 98 Explorer 4.0L V6 rated at 160 HP, and the Escape 2.5L I4 rated at 171HP! Of course the 4L had loads of torque compared to the little 4.

  • MattA

    This Program is stupid! Has anyone thought about the car enthoughs? It’s a waste of good cars, this way your just adding MORE junk too this world. Sure, I’ll drive a 7 MPG 454 Big-block any day, screw Prius’s.

  • dbwoman

    Went to look at cars yesterday. I have a 1995 car that gets 20 so I didn’t qualify, but both dealerships said they have had huge numbers come in and even the ones that don’t qualify, bought new cars. They said about 50/50…that sounds pretty good to me. More fuel efficient cars on the road and a boon to the car industry…

  • Nobama

    People voted for change. The change was never spelled out. It was just sold to the people that there would be change. Well we are in the midst of change. The fall of our free society to a socialist nation. The USSA is unfolding under the Obama-nation.

    Is spending Trillions of our tax dollars the change everyone was looking for?

  • Gun-Totin’ Green

    Obama and the Democrat majority in Congress are spending even more recklessly than Bush, which is saying a lot. While bankrupting us and reducing our freedom, this crew has done very few sensible things. But the Cash for Clunkers program is one of them. It should be expanded and extended.

    My objection to the program is this: eligibility criteria about the old vehicle are too restrictive, while rules about the new vehicle are too lenient.

    1. The maximum mpg for the clunker is set far too high. We should be allowed to trade in (and destroy) any car up to, say, 25 mpg combined.

    2. A new car should be required to get at least 40 mpg. That would leave three 2010 models: Toyota Prius (51 / 48 mpg), Ford Fusion hybrid (41/39), and Honda Insight (41/39).

    If the clunker could get 20 mpg combined, we’d trade in / destroy our old Pontiac Bonneville in a minute. We’d use the $4,500 to buy a hybrid Ford Fusion. We would double our fuel economy (from 20 to 40 mpg).

  • Rick Rogers

    Yes you would.. If you want another Chrysler product. Chrysler just release 4500 rebate even if your car or truck does not meet the program

  • Hmm…

    My 98 S10 Blazer qualifies with a fuel rating of 16 mpg. I am considering trading it in on a ’09 Honda Civic that gets and combined fuel economy rating of 29 mpg. I can’t tell you what my one little car (or even the total number of vehicles that will be replaced with this program) will do for the environment, but I can tell you, it makes a big difference in my life. I wasn’t for the stimulis program, and I’m still not, but it’s already in place and I guess I might as well take advantage of it.

    As for those who called “us” SUV and gas guzzler owners pigs, I think that’s a bit too harse. When I bought my Blazer it was because I found a good deal on it, I had three small children so I needed something a little bigger, and I really wanted something safe that would get us around in the Colorado snow. I wasn’t being spoiled, selfish or wasteful when I bought that vehicle and I assume there are many others that fit in the same catagory.

    I don’t think the program is going to help a lot of people and I do think it is going to benefit the dealers the most, but what’s really wrong with that? They employ people and pay taxes. Not having a stimulis package in the first place would be the best thing, in my opinion, but now that it’s in place, I really don’t see anything wrong with allowing the people that can, make the best of it.

    It never hurts to make an attempt to see another side of a subject. Even if you retain your opinion in the end, at least it may give you some insight to another’s perspective.

  • green cars

    For some reason people jump on the government. Are the people, the tax payers aka dealers, car owners themselves making a fool of looting themselves. Understand there will be fraud dammed if the govt do, dammed if they don’t do anything. for the critics find a better solution and call your congress rep or senator.

    lets all find a way rather than criticizing the gov. we are the govt.

  • steved28

    Well, it now appears that this bill may have stimulated so many sales that the money will run out in a week. That’s 250,000 new cars, and 250,000 old (most likely trucks/SUVs) off the road. Most people on this site bitch and moan about trucks on the road, and as soon as something comes along that sweeps a bunch of them off the road, you bitch again.

    There was over $700 billion allocated to the “bailout”, and this is a drop in the bucket that actually may have put some of that money back in some taxpayer’s pockets. Or would you rather have it go to another bank bailout?

    I would like to see some evidence that anyone purchased a hummer with this program. From what I read, a 2mpg increase would not qualify.

    I would like to see any evidence of fraud. The law and paperwork involved seems pretty fool proof to me.

    I would like to see evidence of ‘Consumer Backlash” I got $4500 for and old truck that was not worth $1000. It came off the best deal I negotiated before I even mentioned the program. What am I missing?

    The new vehicle gets 19mpg MORE than the old vehicle. Or 2.6 times the mileage.

  • Anonymous

    In response to “Green cars “lets all find a way rather than criticizing the gov. we are the govt.” Guess what green car, you’re right… WE ARE the govt. But tell when was the last time the actual “Govt” listened to the people? What happened when the people didn’t want the stimulus package..it went through anyway. Pretty soon we will have the “Govt” take over our health care and make decisions for us because “We” the people are clueless like the AARP.
    In response to Gerald…guess what Gerald..most middle class and low class people can’t afford this program. How the f**k you expect people to get a new vehicle when over a billion are unemployed??
    We are heading to over a TRILLION in debt in America and people are just standing by and watching it happen! WAKE UP AMERICA!! Call your congress or email and get involved.