Ever since I got my first car, I’ve always owned at least one vehicle that gets over 20 miles per gallon. So I’m in favor of fuel-efficient vehicles. Cash for clunkers though, not so much. It just doesn’t work for me. Not even now that the Senate has agreed with the House to add another $2 billion to the program. Here’s why.
First, I have two cars right now. Between them, they’ve driven about 250,000 miles. I consider one a clunker and the other one not. The government says one of them is eligible for the program, the other one not. My problem is my non-clunker, the van, is the car the government would pony up $4,500 for me to get rid of and that won’t help me because it’s worth more than that on the used-car market.
I like my Toyota, but even Toyotas wear out eventually and mine is old enough to vote, so I think it might wear out at some point in the foreseeable future. If I trade it in, I’ll get a lot less than $4,500 too. However, according to the EPA it gets a combined 23 mpg so it isn’t eligible for the program. I’d certainly consider getting something newer that gets 33 mpg, the ten mpg improvement the government is looking for, but to qualify, the car has to get 18 mpg or less.
I was also hoping the Congress would add a cash-for-brakes incentive before next Wednesday when the Toyota goes into the shop for a checkup. No such luck!
Even though the program won’t work for me, I’m still paying for it and so are you if you’re gainfully employed, gainfully retired, or independently wealthy. Since I bought my very first car I’ve always owned at least one that gets superior gas mileage. And now my tax dollars are going to all the bad little boys and girls who drove SUVs and other gas guzzlers in an effort to encourage them to be good.
When I got out of the Army, they gave me a medal for being good. That was nice, but I couldn’t wear it after I got it because I didn’t stay in the Army, so I didn’t have a uniform to put it on. I would rather have had cash. Today, I’d rather have cash too. I’m not getting any either, but in the cash for clunkers program, I don’t even get a medal.