It's rare for the Detroit 3 automakers, the UAW and various politicians to agree on anything meaningful, but that's exactly what appears to be happening after Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio (D) introduced a bill in Congress called Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save bill (CARS Act) that revives the so-called "Cash for Clunkers" plan. This bill would offer consumers up to $5,000 to trade in a vehicle that's at least 8 years old in exchange for a new one built in the United States that gets at least 27 mpg if it's a car or 24 mpg if it's a truck or SUV. The total payout would be based on the new vehicle's mileage rating.

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are all supporting the bill, as is the United Auto Workers union. Vehicles built in either Canada or Mexico would need to get at least 30 mpg and would be eligible for up to $4,000. The CARS plan would apply to all automakers equally, but only for vehicles assembled in North America. Sorry, Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. Mass transit vouchers would also be included in the legislation as an option for trading in an older vehicle. Click past the break for the official press release.

[Source: U.S. Representative Betty Sutton | Photo: dave_7]


Representative Sutton Introduces Innovative Legislation to Help Consumers and Auto Sales - While Improving the Environment and Preserving Jobs

WASHINGTON - In a move to take older, gas-guzzling vehicles off the road and spur new car sales, Representative Betty Sutton (OH) introduced legislation today that will provide consumers a $3,000 to $5,000 incentive to buy more fuel-efficient cars, trucks or use mass transit.

Rep. Sutton's Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act gives consumer purchase incentives for turning in vehicles that are 8 years or older to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles or to obtain a transit voucher. In the legislation, new car purchases that qualify for this incentive must achieve a minimum of 27 miles per gallon on highways, while new trucks must achieve a minimum of 24 mpg for highway driving. The bill provides graduated incentives based on greater fuel efficiency.

"The CARS Act will achieve many goals: consumers will finally get a break to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles; we will all benefit from a reduction of CO2; and the auto industry will get a jumpstart to spur sales," Rep Sutton said. "This legislation will help consumers, stimulate our economy, improve our environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help our domestic auto and related industries, upon which millions of American families depend upon for employment."

"U.S. auto sales have fallen over 40 percent in the last year - a steeper decline than in the early 1980s. This trend, which affects all automakers, must be quickly reversed to preserve American jobs. The CARS Act provides consumers a needed incentive to buy a vehicle, while working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption," Sutton added.

Recently, a similar concept has worked in Germany. After implementation of its consumer incentive program, sales of new vehicles in Germany increased 21 percent in February 2009, versus the same month a year ago.

The legislation also offers transit vouchers in exchange for older, high emission vehicles. "By providing a transit voucher option, this bill will also encourage the use of mass transit, which will similarly benefit our economy and environment."

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