What was supposed to be a win for consumers, struggling car dealers and the environment turned out to be a mess.
The program's first mistake seems to have been its focus on car shredding, instead of car recycling. With 690,000 vehicles traded in, that's a pretty big mistake.Why is that bad? Recycling the parts produces a lot less waste that has to go to landfills.
According to the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), automobiles are almost completely recyclable, down to their engine oil and brake fluid. But many of the “Cash for Clunkers” cars were never sent to recycling facilities. The agency reports that the cars’ engines were instead destroyed by federal mandate, in order to prevent dealers from illicitly reselling the vehicles later.
The remaining parts of each car could then be put up for auction, but program guidelines also required that after 180 days, no matter how much of the car was left, the parts would be sent to a junkyard and shredded.
E Magazine states recycling just the plastic and metal alone from the CARS scraps would have saved 24 million barrels of oil. While some of the “Clunkers” were truly old, many of the almost 700,000 cars were still in perfectly good condition. In fact, many that qualified for the program were relatively “young,” with fuel efficiencies that rivaled newer cars.The rest is available at the Yahoo link, which will also link you to the original article at E Magazine. The manipulation of the car market wasn't good for consumers. Even if you believe in anthropogenic global warming,* the trade-in appears to have done nothing to help.
And though the point was to get less fuel efficient cars off the roads, with only 690,000 traded in, and over 250 million registered in the U.S., the difference in pollutant levels seems pretty negligible.
But all that vehicular destruction did more than create unnecessary waste for the environment. It also had some far-reaching economic effects.
*If you still believe in anthropogenic global warming, don't worry. Christopher Monckton has suggested some helpful ways to let you down easy now that the inaccuracies of the alarmist computer models the theory is based on have been scientifically demonstrated.