Welcome to the scrap pileThe first four, five and maybe even 10 cars some of us have owned probably wouldn’t add up to the $4,500 the government offered to trade in and buy a new energy-efficient vehicle in its “Cash for Clunkers” program.
By: The Press Editorial, The Dickinson Press
The first four, five and maybe even 10 cars some of us have owned probably wouldn’t add up to the $4,500 the government offered to trade in and buy a new energy-efficient vehicle in its “Cash for Clunkers” program.
Let’s see, there was the Ford Escort, Pontiac Sunbird, rusty old pick-up, dented Cadillac Cimarron and numerous others. The point is, there are many people who would be happy to own a car that costs 1,000 bucks. And $4,500 often makes for a really nice ride. Too bad all of these clunker trade-ins are being hauled to the scrap yard and made into bales.
Some of the clunkers aren’t really clunkers and with a few thousand dollars, some could last another 100,000 miles.
Intentions were good when reps voted for the program but maybe they were too anxious. It seems as if they wanted to make a change so badly that they didn’t take time to fully think about the ins and outs of the program and organize it a bit better.
If the point is environmentally friendly, how energy efficient is it to scrap thousands of cars — where do the tires, oil, radiator fluid go? And how “green” is it to build a new vehicle — think about the emissions that come from all of the factories making everything from dashes to paint?
The program has driven auto sales but likely not to the people who need it most. Even with $4,500 to help out, a new car is far out of budget for many.
Local dealers are frustrated. Why is it taking so long for the money to get into the hands of dealers in the 10 days they were told it would take?
Dean Bender, Chevrolet dealer owner, sums it up as he says in a Thursday Press story, “It’s the biggest fiasco and joke they’ve ever done.”
It may not be the biggest but it sounds like it’s definitely not the best.
Billions have been spent on the original plan and billions more for an extension — billions! A spike in new auto sales is beneficial to automakers but what happened to the billions already provided for auto bailouts — billions!
We don’t claim to have the answers to what could save the industry and the environment but some sort of rebate program may have been the way to go. Then the used-car owners could also sell their cars to those who need a low-cost vehicle, get the rebate and have a new efficient vehicle.
Energy-efficient vehicles are not realistic for many in southwestern North Dakota. However, the program does offer exceptions for some trucks and SUVs. Picture a Toyota Prius pulling a livestock trailer. Ever try taking a Honda Civic Hybrid down a farm road with a round bale strapped to the top after a hefty rain? Some of these cars have their place, but likely not for many in a predominately rural setting.
It may have been wise to slow down and think this one through before giving it the OK. But what’s done is done and some of us will keep on clunking along in our old jalopies.
— The Editorial Board meets weekly to discuss topics of importance to