Forgive me if I'm less than excited that the "Cash For Clunkers" bill passed the House.
The bill awards cash vouchers of $3500-$4500 for those willing to trade in a vehicle rated at an EPA estimated 18 mpg or less for a vehicle rated at a marginally better MPG.
If you can hear my cynicism bleeding through this writing then that would be because I consider this bill poor social engineering if you're trying to get more fuel efficient cars on the road. A better use of these limited federal funds would be to renew now defunct tax credits for the purchase of the most popular Toyota and Honda hybrids.
It seems to me that the environment would be better served by getting more city folks from marginally good MPG cars into excellent MPG hybrids than it would getting rural folks from sucky MPG trucks or SUVs into slightly less sucky MPG trucks or SUVS.
I realize that a big part of the push behind this bill has nothing to do with the environment. The idea is to give the U.S. auto industry a boost by moving some of the surplus sitting on lots as soon as possible. Great.
But if you REALLY wanted to help the U.S. auto industry long term then wouldn't this 4.5 billion be better spent on developing a hybrid or electric car that's affordable (i.e NOT a $40k Chevy Volt?)
Take a loss on the crap sitting on lots at the moment by drastically discounting it and selling it. Then start actually working to position itself for the rest of this century by focusing on inexpensive, environmentally sound cars.
But then I'm just some poor schlub blogging on the internet and not a politician. What do I know?