By on August 4, 2009

One takeaway: CARS is good because it gets people into more fuel efficient cars, but the highway fund is running out because people are driving more fuel efficient cars. Also, apparently bolstering Ford sales is a major rationale for extending C4C. Y’know, after the whole “taking CO2 out of the air” thing. Speaking of which, former clunker detractor Sen Dianne Feinstein is on board for an extension, telling Automotive News [sub] “the original intent of the clunkers program was to encourage people to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, and the data so far tells us that’s exactly what’s happening,

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7 Comments on “LaHood on Cash for Clunkers: The Statistics Are on Our Side. Ish....”

  • avatar

    What they should have done was raise the gasoline tax at the end of 2008 when gas was under $2.00/gallon. People wouldn’t really have cared at that point that they were paying $2.10 instead of $2.00, they would have just been happy that they weren’t paying $4.15/gallon anymore.

    That would have raised a lot of revenue without any damage to people’s bottom line.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Senator Feinstein isn’t a C4C detractor per se. She was concerned that the program’s fuel efficiency requirements didn’t go far enough. Yesterday she said that given the data from the program she is ok with supporting additional funding as is rather than requiring stiffer fuel economy improvement requirement.

    To the second point: The federal gas tax hasn’t changed since 1990, and 2.5 cents of the 14 cents per gallon collected is sent to the general fund, not the highway trust fund. Overall inflation since 1990 has been 65% ( ). The gas tax would need to be hiked up to 23 cents per gallon just to account for inflation. Personally I would much rather see the gas tax raised to 23 cents and then inflation adjusted from there instead of an ever expanding patchwork of private toll roads. Most conservatives prefer the private toll road solution. The bankers and corporations like the private option as well … more chances for them to shake down drivers.

  • avatar

    If Detroit had gotten the message 20 years ago about CAFE and the strong undercurrent of the desirability for better fuel mileage, the Cash for Guzzlers would have few vehicles in the pool.

    Congress sat back and watched the Big 3 weasel out of over half the deal. If they had kept an eye out for what was NOT being done and continued to ratchet up the mileage until meaningful results WERE being achieved, Cash for Guzzlers wouldn’t even be a dream today.

    Variable cam timing, multi-valve, direct injection, variable-displacement water pumps, supercharging, turbocharging, refined I4s, refined 60-degree V6 designs, and more could and should have occurred.

    Precious little of it did. Another CAFE casualty? Would a hefty fuel tax gotten us better engines?

    Don’t know, but CAFE sure the hell did not do it and is not likely to do it in the future either. Hold on for a repeat of this program ten years from now.

  • avatar

    The CARS program is a clear acknowledgement that CAFE failed to achieve a meaningful improvement in vehicle fuel mileage.

    How many billions will the government pay out to fix this Detroit-created fiasco?

  • avatar

    The reason the highway fund is running out of cash is because the gas tax hasn’t been increased and politicians of *any* stripe don’t have the courage to increase it.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The biggest problem with CAFE is that the numbers went into a deep freeze in 1984 and didn’t move appreciably for 25 years. Add in the Escalade sized loop hole for “working vehicles” and you know everything you need to know about CAFE’s failure in the 1990s. During the earlier period when CAFE requirements incremented up on a regular basis, the fleet fuel economy in the US actually did improve dramatically.

    But, 25 years of inaction had their effect.

  • avatar

    “the original intent of the clunkers program was to encourage people to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, and the data so far tells us that’s exactly what’s happening”

    Well, that’s the only way to take advantage of CFC, isn’t it – to buy a more fuel-efficient car?

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