Why Ca$h for Clunkers won’t work

It’s the economy, stupid!

The economy is not in full recovery mode, yet, so we can’t expect Cash for Clunkers – the government program to provide up to $4500 off the purchase of a new car if it is more fuel efficient than the old car – to work the way it was designed. Frankly, how many people do YOU know are going out and buying new cars in these uncertain economic times?


The program is funded for $1 billion dollars – which could help a transit agency upgrade its equiptment, close a budget gap and prevent fare hikes, or ensure preventative maintenance continues on rail lines or buses. I’d rather see the federal government begin funding sustainable, more economical transit than keep throwing money behind Detroit, which seems bent on producing cars with dismal gas mileage, instead of buses, light rail vehicles or train cars. I’m not anti-car at all, but instead looking at the bigger picture. Oil will not last forever, and we have not made significant inroads in alternative fuels to be used mass-market – so we need to get back to what we know will work in the meantime – public transportation and alternative modes of transportation.

Perhaps it will take a partnership between a transit agency and a big 3 automaker to make some major changes in how transportation is funded and thought of in America, so in the meantime, I will be waiting and watching the success (or failure) of the Cash for Clunkers program, which runs from July 1 to November 1, 2009.

3 responses to “Why Ca$h for Clunkers won’t work

  1. You’re dreaming if you think there can be a major shift from personal cars to mass transit. Our country was not built on mass transit transportation. Too many suburbs where cars are a necessary evil. The money would be better spent giving subsidies to people to (1) Install solar panels on their roofs to (2) Charge the batteries of their electric cars. It would provide tons of jobs for installers, would besomething an average home handyman could install himself, provid a stimulus for panel manufacturers, and could spread virally very quickly.

    • Hi, thanks for commenting! I think the shift will come in time, definitely not overnight. I agree that we should look into solar panels, electric cars, alternative fuels and more. There’s so much to be done.

  2. The only reason I think cash for clunkers won’t work is that the stipulations from the government are too stringent. The cars can’t be too old (basically still need to be able to be resold) and you have to buy something with better gas mileage, etc. The number of people I know with older cars need to be able to switch out as those vehicles, while still running very well, have horrible emissions. Lets ease up on the requirements for qualifications til more people own the more efficient vehicles, can we?