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Program aims to get driver into fuel efficient vehicles

Published: Mon, June 22, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

Program aims to get driver into fuel efficient vehicles

“Cash for Clunkers,” the buyer incentive plan approved by Congress last week isn’t for everyone. Basically, it will only be of advantage to people whose current trade-in is worth less than $4,500 and gets less than 18 miles per gallon. And buyers have to be in the market for a new fuel efficient car.

But its a program that everybody in the Mahoning Valley can be enthusiastic about, because anything that spurs the sale of fuel efficient cars will have a beneficial effect on the Lordstown General Motors plant, where Chevrolet Cobalts and Pontiac G5s are produced.

The Cobalt and G5 automatics are rated at 23 or 24 mpg city; 32 or 33 mpg highway. Manual transmission models get 22 or 25 mpg city and 35 or 37 mpg on the highway. The EPA average for Lordstown products, based on 45 percent city and 55 percent highway, ranges from 25 mpg to 29 mpg.

Of course there is no guarantee that today’s clunker owners will be tomorrow’s Cobalt drivers. There was no way to write a buy-American provision into this legislation. A similar program in Germany resulted in a majority of the new cars purchased being imports.

U.S. manufacturers are simply going to have to be aggressive in marketing their products and winning over buyers.

The cash received for clunkers is in addition to any other buyers incentives provided by the manufacturers or bargains offered by local dealers.

End of the road

One cautionary note, if you’ve developed a sentimental attachment to your clunker, know that it won’t be going to another owner who will give it a good home. It will be going directly from the dealership to the scrap yard. One of the objects of the program is to spur vehicle sales and give the economy a boost. The other is to get older gas-guzzling, carbon-spewing models off the road.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that the majority of auto emissions come from older vehicles that are not designed to meet later emissions standards, even when running at their best. A poorly maintained older model can emit more pollution than a dozen new cars.

The clunkers bill provides $1 billion for the auto sales program from July through November, although details and implementation won’t be worked out until early August. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the there will be enough money to spur 250,000 sales. The incentives are $3,500 or $4,500, depending on a number of factors.

Because the vehicles will be scrapped by the dealers, the program will be of no advantage to buyers with high-value trade-ins. The buyer will be getting the $3,500 or $4,500 payment in lieu of any trade-in value.

And perspective buyers can forget trying to pull off a fast one by running to the junkyard for a trade-in vehicle. The buyer must have owned the trade-in for at least a year and the car, truck or van must be in running order.

But anyone who has, say, a 10 year-old gas guzzler with a trade-in value of $1,000, might be able to do more than just dream about buying a new car.

More details about the program will be coming out of Washington and from a dealer near you in coming weeks.


1johnbates4(16 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

Hey Clarkkent, You're a RETARD! The legislation says that the vehicle must have been owned and insured for at least one year leading up to the trade in of the vehicle. So you CAN'T pull a fast one! Perhaps had you read the article or educated yourself on the issue you would know this. But you obviously didn't. Go spew your anti-Obama BS elsewhere.

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2KLibecco(84 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

This is really detrimental to the collector car market. Cars that could very easily be fixed and/or restored will be scrapped. Many of the cars that will go to the junkyard will likely the teen's car or a car that's driven the least of the family's vehicles, and won't impact carbon footprints all that much. As far as improving fuel mileage, most people would see a direct increase almost immediately by checking the air pressure in their tires. For those of us who enjoy car culture, car design and that whole world, this is devastating news. Used car prices are going to increase, hurting the poor and car collectors.

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3VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

To Katie...maybe this is an attempt to rebuild the slumping collector car market...have you seen the prices in Hemmings lately? Why, you could pick up a $90,000 Pontiac GTO for about $59,000 now! Or a '57 Chevy for less than $100,000!

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4Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

What good is a coupon for a car that is overpriced anyway ? To really get good gas mileage you would have to look at the hybrid. They run about 10k more then the standard model (Ford Escape)

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5johnbates4(16 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

to clarkkent:
First I'm going to pass on your offer to bite you. Secondly you have proven your ignorance by stating that you didn't bother to educate yourself. Finally you seem to be a torch bearer of the GOP I could be wrong but I doubt it. As opposed to your empty suit I suppose you prefer a chicken-hawk who sends people to find weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist. And finaly before you call me out on it I am a proud veteran of that conflict. I will support my country regardless of who was in charge, even if they irresponsibly spend money not on tangible vehicles and reducing polution, but prefer to spend it on death and destruction persuing his ideology.

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6johnbates4(16 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

figured I would hit a nerve there. And I did you wrote us a novel! DOD contractor essentially means that war is good for business and your wallet. Multiple reports have said that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq I suppose you didn't read those either. FAct of the matter is the nation spoke and this old school militar-industrial stuff doesn't fly. Typal of the neocons you ignore facts that don't support your oppinion.

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7redvert(2240 comments)posted 7 years, 1 month ago

clarkkent, you are trying to get through to the sheeples!

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8jhenry1607(1 comment)posted 7 years ago

For working trucks the rule is not based on the fuel efficieny. As long as it is manufactured before 2001 they all qualify
but cannot be older than 25 years old.


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