Editorial

Cash for Clunkers isn't final answer for car problems

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Cash for Clunkers program got another lease on life with a $2 billion infusion from Congress, after the first billion dollars disappeared in less than a week, resulting in about 220,000 new car sales.

While the program has achieved its goal of selling new cars, while removing older, less fuel-efficient vehicles from the roadways, it isn't the final answer for everyone who depends on cars for income or transportation.

While salvage yards will have a glut of cars to recycle, they won't have access to the most profitable parts -- the drive train -- because those have to be deliberately ruined by the dealerships.

Advocates for the disadvantaged see problems as well, with fewer servicable used cars available for purchase or donation to charities.

And, coupled with the struggling economy, the Cash for Clunkers program actually may exacerbate the problem of unsafe cars on the road.

With fewer low-price used cars on the road, lower income drivers may be forced to keep their real clunkers on the road longer, endangering themselves and those with whom they share the road.

Mechanics are reporting cars coming in with worn out tires, brakes and other items, drivers opting for minimal repairs at most, and continuing to drive dangerous cars because they feel they have no choice.

The Car Care Council reports that 80 percent of the vehicles on the road need repairs or service.

Government programs or no, good advice remains the same as in Ben Franklin's time: A stitch in time saves nine. Fix the small problems with your car now, and you'll avoid big expensive repairs later.

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  • Sceptre- If politicians are all that, what does it say about the people that elect them? I'd also like you to point out a "hybrid" from the early 1900s. I'm aware there were lots of pure electric vehicles then in existence such as the Baker, Columbia, Anderson, Edison, Studebaker, Riker, only to be superceded by the Otto cycle internal combustion engine and the advent of plentiful gasoline.Your efforts to present a counterargument would be much more effective if you stuck to facts.

    True properly maintained cars are more efficient including proper tire inflation.

    -- Posted by davis_x_machina on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 10:07 AM
  • Check out the Mercury Grand Marquis in the clunker bin at the former Bunstock Oil service station. What a pathetic waste!

    -- Posted by Dick on Mon, Aug 10, 2009, at 4:39 PM
  • The cash for clunkers program is highly misunderstood by the public. A vehicle that gets more than 18 miles per galloon does not qualify. The vehicles that are traded in have an engine bomb placed in the motor. The vehicle is then sold to a junk yard for scrap metal. The junk yard can remove all usable parts and then crush the car. Looks to me like the consumer is getting a more fuel efficient car, the dealer is getting $4500 from the government, the dealer is also getting $$ from the junk yard, and the junk yard is getting money from usable parts then the scrap metal. Looks to me like a win win situation.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 8:46 AM
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