This idea provides a good incentive for citizens to upgrade to a car with better gas mileage.
'Cash for clunkers' drawing support
By David Lightman
Posted: 05/13/2009 10:53:27 PM PDT
Updated: 05/14/2009 06:26:42 AM PDT
WASHINGTON — Consumers could get up to $4,500 each to help replace old gas-guzzling cars — as long as they turn in their old ones — under a plan that's gained strong support from the White House and leaders of Congress.
The "cash for clunkers" movement has proved so strong that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is seriously considering making it part of the emergency Iraq and Afghanistan war-spending bill.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the war-funding measure by Friday, probably without the "cash for clunkers" language, which the Senate is expected to add next week when it debates the legislation.
" 'Cash for clunkers' is really important," Reid said.
President Barack Obama has added his voice to the chorus. After House Democrats described the plan at a White House meeting last week, "the president commended the members for moving forward a plan that will help the American auto industry and provide Americans with cleaner automobiles," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
The plan that appears to have the most support would allow consumers to trade in older gas guzzlers and get vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help pay for more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and key House Democrats are pushing that plan. It would allow an old car — the term "old" isn't defined — that gets 18 miles per gallon or less to be swapped for a new car with mileage of at least 22 mpg. If the new car's mileage is 4 mpg better, the consumer's voucher would be worth $3,500. If the improvement is at least 10 mpg, the voucher would be worth $4,500.
For light-duty trucks, old vehicles also must get less than 18 mpg. If the new truck or SUV gets 2 mpg more, the voucher would be worth $3,500, increasing to $4,500 if the mileage improved 5 mpg. Other incentives are provided for large light-duty trucks and work trucks.
Supporters estimate that the program, which would stay in effect for a year, would boost car and truck sales by 1 million.
"At the end of the day, this is basically an incentive, and we know from experience that providing a few thousand dollars is an effective way of increasing sales," said Bernard Swiecki, the director of market analysis at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.