Some politicians who supported the Cash for Clunkers program didn’t want to be seen promoting a billion dollar (or three) bailout for car dealers, what with car dealers rating just above sex offenders as “people who I’d like to support with my taxes.” So, not surprisingly, the C4C bill was wrapped in a mantle of green; structured to reward buyers who traded gas guzzlers for [marginally] more fuel efficient vehicles. In practice, the “program mostly involved swaps of old Ford or Chevrolet pickups for new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Associated Press. The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.” It gets worse . . .
In scores of deals, the government reported spending a total of $562,500 in rebates for new cars and trucks that got worse or the same mileage as the trade-ins — in apparent violation of the program’s requirements. The government said it is investigating those reports and said in some cases they were probably entered incorrectly by dealers or based on outdated fuel economy figures.
So a $24K per car government subsidy and all I got is this lousy “Global Warming is a Crock of Shit” T-shirt? Oh wait; here it comes, THE HUMMER ANGLE!
In at least 145 cases, mostly involving trucks, the government reported consumers traded old vehicles that got better than or the same mileage as the new vehicle they purchased. The government said it was continuing to investigate. “It’s possible some quirky deal slipped through the cracks,” Anwyl said.
In at least 15 deals in nine states, owners of large pickups cashed in old trucks for between $3,500 and $4,500 toward new Hummer H3 SUVs that got only 16 mpg.
Bottom line: the Cash for Clunkers program certainly helped the domestics, whose largest profits come from sales of pickups and SUVs. Shall we call that a win, then?