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A Clunky Idea

So both chambers of Congress have approved of a "Cash for Clunkers" program through which consumers receive subsidies for replacing their older fuel-guzzling vehicles with new fuel-efficient vehicles.

I think this idea, on the surface, sounds great. Get those exhaust-spewing dirty inefficient cars off the road! Everybody buy a LEV or Prius or something! And of course, you benefit the struggling auto industry! YAY!

Except...there's no guarantee that you're helping the environment here. Sure, the old vehicle has terrible fuel economy, but building new cars requires incredible amounts of energy as well. There's ore extraction, chemical treatments, electricity for all the machinery, etc. Does that balance against the pollution from extraction, refining, and combustion of more fuel? Was that even considered by the folks who sold this bill? I suspect this was pushed by the automotive industry to spur new car sales, but I haven't seen anything about a provision limiting the credit to purchases of American cars, so it may end up benefiting Toyota and Honda more than Ford and GM. Maybe it's all about saving money for the consumer? Perhaps, but for drivers that currently owe nothing on their cars, it's highly unlikely that the monthly gas savings will come close to a monthly payment.

Eh...I don't mean to sound so dismissive, but I feel like this is another band-aid idea that makes people think Congress and the White House are doing something helpful when it might only result in a further waste of money without helping that many people.