Thursday, August 06, 2009

I admit it: I was wrong

I was never a big fan of the "Cash for Clunkers", or C.A.R.S. program. The standards were either too lax (1 MPG increase for Class 2 trucks), or didn't target the right vehicles (more than 25 years old). And why tie it only to new car purchases? Why not give the bicycle industry a boost as well?

But in the end, results are what count, and the results look pretty good: (AP) Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the average mileage of new vehicles purchased through the program is 9.6 miles per gallon higher than for the vehicles traded in for scrap. Buyers of new cars and trucks that get 10 mpg better than their trade-ins get the $4,500 rebate. People whose cars get between 4 mpg and 10 mpg better fuel efficiency qualify for a smaller $3,500 rebate. LaHood said some 80 percent of the traded-in vehicles are pickups or SUVs, meaning many gas-guzzlers are being taken off the road.

It's not that big a surprise, actually. With gas prices poised to resume their upward trajectory, a lot of people were looking for an opportunity to dump their gas guzzlers. The C.A.R.S. program gave the trade-in value of pickups and SUVs a nice boost. Still, four grand would buy a lot of bike...

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