• Jul 1st 2008 at 8:02AM
  • 34
All of the clean new vehicles in the world won't amount to much if they don't replace the older, dirtier fleet of cars currently on the roads. For this reason, some U.S. states are beginning to offer programs which pay drivers to turn in their old clunkers for new, cleaner cars and trucks. In Texas, for instance, up to $3,500 is available to qualifying families which earn less than $63,000 per year in combined income and own a vehicle which fails current emissions testing. Texas was able to retire 11,000 vehicles last year alone by using this cash-based incentive. California too has begun offering a similar program, and though its $1,500 offer is a bit less generous, that state has no income restrictions.
Even our neighbors up north have plans to reduce their older vehicle fleet by one-percent starting January 1st of next year. Canada's plan would offer drivers either $300 towards a new vehicle, a discount bicycle or a bus pass, which seems a bit suck-tastic next to the program in Texas.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mmm....I love the smell of government handouts in the morning.....it smells like FAIL.

      The only thing people need that bring in clunkers failing emissions is a map to the bus stop.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I wonder if most people commenting have even read about these programs or understand what they're about. My guess is no, but this is the Internet so why be informed?

        The idea is to get these gross polluters out of counties sufferring from the worst smog problems. That's why your trade must have been registered in a qualifying county for the past 12 months. If you saw the summer air in places like Dallas, Houston and LA you'd see the value that programs like this have.

        You all whine about government subsidies but the only reason programs like this exist is because the true cost of burning gas and polluting the air is not reflected in the price. If it was then gasoline would have crossed the $4 per gallon line 40 years ago. Until the true, total cost of burning that gallon of gas is included in the price (and true market forces can begin to work), gov't intervention is the only way to attempt to bring about equilibrium.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Vintage: the Texas program is *NOT* just for new cars. You can use the voucher on the purchase of a qualifying '05 or newer car (the '05s will drop off the list in September.) So, someone with a 10-year-old junker who doesn't make too much money could get $3k (or $3.5k for a hybrid) toward a 3-year-old used car that costs less than $25k. (yes, they can also apply it to a brand-new car, but the $25k price limit still applies.)

        Alas, this will probably never benefit me. Besides the fact that I'm keeping my Legacy as long as it continues to be a good car, I plan to keep making too much money to qualify for the program. Those qualifications are tiered as well, the $63k quoted in the article is for a family of 4, it's $31k for someone who's legally single.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are you mentally challenged? The only thing people need that are using the word FAIL is a break from internet blogs and a dictionary to read.
        • 7 Years Ago
        This is such a huge load of crap. The energy required to create a new car is immense, and the global production of all the pieces needed to make an entirely new car also produces VAST amounts of pollution. Please see my video on this subject here, it's only a couple of minutes long:


        I will continue to drive my old cars until I cannot fix them, because THAT is the best choice for this planet. So many (stupid) people just look at tailpipe emissions and ignore everything else.
        • 7 Years Ago
        + one for the first line

        - twenty for the second one

        Because, you know, not everyone lives on a bus line. Or has a bus line that works.

        According to the gov't ran bus line's website in my area, it would take me almost all day long to make a 45min drive.

        And that was only after I could guess which starting off point that it would me go from A to B from.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And the death of potential rare cars goes unabated. Then again, troll thru Craiglist would net some easy cash this way.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wait, so if I was poor, I could buy a clunker that won't pass smog for $200 and the government would give me $3000 to junk it and get a new car? Sounds fair.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When Texas said that they retired 11000 vehicles, that means sold them in Mexico.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mexico has reduced that problem significantly, though. They've narrowed the age range of cars that can be imported easily and resold. Now you can only import cars that are 10 model-years old... so this year it's 1998 cars, next year it'll be 1999, etc.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ Disgruntled Goat, who wrote: "Most people in favor of a straight-up, VAT type consumption tax as a form of funding gov't are well aware of it's horribly regressive nature, that's why so many of the wealthy are in favor of it.

      The only true way to be equitable is a purely net worth based tax system but I promise you'll never see that. The concept of making everyone contribute based on how much they have rubs way too many of the "haves" the wrong way."


      Bingo. I laugh when I hear conservatives complain about capital gains taxes and the 'death' tax--taxes that the majority of citizens will NEVER pay. And for the few that do, it's like they think their acquired wealth should suddenly absolve them of paying any taxes, period.

      You can't have it both ways.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A net worth based tax system is even more dangerous than an income tax.

        IF you start taxing people out of the reward for excelling in their field, taking risk, and building business... you will LOSE all of that, and destroy the economy.

        The profit motive is NOT an evil thing. People want to be compensated more for working harder. I guarantee you want that, too. Would you be a doctor, or any other high-paying, high demand job, if it paid the same as a blue collar job, which requires less education and less dedication? Didn't think so.

        GREED is immoral. But the GOVERNMENT is more greedy than most private citizens, even wealthy ones. The government is greedy for money they don't earn, they just seize.

        Capital gains taxes serve much the same purpose as a wealth or income tax. It is a hurdle to wealth building. It is not prohibitive to overcome YET, but it easily could be. A sales tax would immediately account for increased wealth the moment one tries to spend it. Wealthy people spend money, and they spend a LOT of it, and if it is not earned income, they haven't paid much tax on it through income taxes.

        And DEATH taxes (Estate tax) is just plain immoral. Death is not a taxable event. For most people who have earned their wealth during their life, it is double taxation. For most un-earned wealth, it is usually in trust, or some other method of sheilding it from the event of death.

        You say that people can afford it... It is nearly a 50% tax. What of the people who own businesses, which classify as an asset, and upon their death, 50% of the value of that business is payable. Most people don't have nearly enough liquidity to pay that. So what happens?

        The business is sold, usually at a loss against it's true value, due to urgency of time. The proceeds first go to pay the taxes, and what value was in the maintenance of that business, is gone, and the inheritors are left with the ruins, simply because their relative or close freind died.

        Hell of a way to honor a responsible deceased person, only to feed the gaping maw of government, which WASTES that hard earned value in most of what it does.

        Government is not your beneficial overlord. The sooner you figure that out, the better for everyone.

        And to the person who asked small-government conservatives to look in the mirror... I sure as HELL don't vote for big government candidates, REGARDLESS of party, and that is exactly why I will not under any circumstance vote for McCain, OR Obama. Neither of them want to return Federal Government to the constraints of the US Constitution.

        At this point I may as well write in Reagan's corpse. He could get more done in his current condition, than either two of the candidates. (yeah, a little hyperbole, but it makes my point.)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ok, we stopped yearly inspections and fines for not keeping your vehicle up to whatever emissions code for incentives.....OMG!!!
      What is wrong with this country?!?!? Why do we continue to reward irresponsibility!! Seems like my tax dollars go to everything I don't want it to go to, no matter what party is on office.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Exactly. So then, how long do you think before all trade-in cars have mysteriously malfunctioning cats? Oops. I dunno how that can from some beans replaced my catalytic converter sir, I guess this means I failed emissions testing? Ooops. Can I have those thousands of dollars now?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sorry, unclear. If you car is less than 10 yrs old, to qualify it must have failed an emissions test at a state-licensed inspection facility. I changed which set of cars I was talking about in mid-paragraph.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I can't speak to the situation in other states, but Texas has not stopped annual safety inspections (required statewide) or emissions inspections (required in EPA non-attainment metro areas.)

        Brice: If your car is 10 or more years old in TX, you don't even have to fail an emissions inspection, it qualifies (if it's registered in one of those EPA non-attainment areas.) It has to have failed emissions testing at a state-approved inspection facility, though it's fairly easy to make a car fail if you want it to.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The problem with this is that people who don't take proper care of their vehicles with regular oil changes will be rewarded for their neglect.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'll keep my old cars and you can take your money and shove it.

      Besides, $3,500 won't go far towards a new car unless you're looking at the most basic penalty box. $3,500 is a typical option package these days.
        • 7 Years Ago
        In Texas the program applies to the purchase qualifying used cars up to 3 yrs old as well as new ones.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Regarding your comments about Canada's incentive plan to buy Green vehicles: I just bought an 08 Prius and get $2,000.00 from the Provincial Government, and another $2,000.00 from the Federal Government. That progam ends with the 08 model year. I haven't heard what they intend after that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ cowboy bob:
        Yes, an econobox might get equal fuel economy to a prius, but the point is the the Prius gets that fuel economy while being far more spacious, better equipped, and often better looking.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It was smart to take advantage of incentives. I would consider this also, providing the math over ten years shows a "real" savings compared to a small conventional "econobox". I am not convinced the real savings are present for the consumer of hybrid autos when the cost of ownership, initial purchase, possible battery replacement, and potential resale for older units is considered. An econobox can be had for 10k less than what you paid, and it still gets 35mpg. At an average 10 MPG increase over the "box" and 20k per year usage, your savings is about $500 to $550 per year. At that rate your $10k additional cost is not returned for about 20 years. Math does't lie.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They're doing it backwards. If they really want to clear the streets of older polluters, they need adopt the system the Japanese use: increase annual vehicle tax and registration costs based on the car's age, engine size, and emission level.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That wouldn't exactly work in Texas. (I live in Houston, I'd know). 1. In Japan a car is at least somewhat of a luxury (at least compared to here) due to the fact that everything is much closer together and most cities have an excellent public transportation system, along with an outstanding rail system. In Texas, however, a car is pretty much a necessity. Furthermore, the people who drive the "bad" cars only do so because they cannot afford a newer/nicer one. Increasing the cost of owning a "bad" car isn't going to solve the problem, but merely make their lives harder.
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