A new bill introduced in the Senate this month is being called the "Cash for Clunkers" program. It would offer drivers a $4,500 voucher for turning in their gas-guzzling cars for more fuel-efficient ones.
It seems simple, but there are a few requirements that a driver would have to meet in order to cash in. The vehicle being traded in must be drivable and have a fuel-economy rating of less than 18 miles per gallon. The new car must exceed federal fuel economy targets for its vehicle class by 25 percent, must cost less than $45,000 and be a 2004 model or later.
While this is a good idea in theory, there would be easy ways to take advantage of this program without actually making a dramatic improvement in fuel efficiency. Someone could trade in their old car for a truck or SUV that is considered fuel efficient for its class, but doesn't actually improve the drivers overall fuel performance. The senators backing this bill claim that this program could save 40,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day in four years. I think that this type of program is the right kind of idea - one that aims to help people across the country reduce their fuel consumption, but I think they could do better. There aren't high hopes for this bill to pass, but I hope to see something bigger and more effective pass soon.
written by Candace, January 22, 2009
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