Last month, Germany reported a shocking 21 percent improvement in auto sales, and the greatest driver in the uptick was a used vehicle scrapping plan that pays drivers 2,500 euros ($3,150) to remove their old car from the road. With new car sales in most other countries down by at least that much, it was widely speculated that other governments would look closely at Germany's new system to see if it would be worth adopting in their areas.

An opinion piece at Automotive News (sub. req'd) suggests that it's time for the United States to implement its own vehicle scrapping program. President Obama's recently-passed economic stimulus plan does contain provisions that are intended to help spur new vehicle sales, but has nothing as dramatic as what's been enacted in Germany.

Such a plan would certainly spark major debate as to the environmental benefits and drawbacks of replacing older cars with new ones. One one hand, new cars feature engines that generally use less fuel and definitely emit less pollutants. On the other hand, the production of cars in general creates its own emissions and uses lots of power. What do you think: With signs pointing towards a possible sales recovery in the U.S., is now the right time to give the market an extra kick with a scrapping plan?

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd | Photo: nico.cavallotto]

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