As is all too often the case, unintended consequences appear likely to play a part in the aftermath of Cash for Clunkers. One of the points made in selling the whole idea was that it would save fuel by taking older fuel-guzzling vehicles off the road and replace them with new, more efficient vehicles. While this appears to have worked out – with the average mileage for the first quarter million trade-ins going from 16.3 mpg to 24.8 mpg – that figure is not the end of the story.

Just as drivers that have migrated to hybrids are now driving more miles on average, so too are C4C buyers intending to use their new rides more. In fact, research done by CNW indicates that C4C participants intend to drive almost twice as many annual miles, which will more than make up for any efficiency-based fuel savings.

The problem is that the old vehicles that weren't in good shape tended to sit around more. In fact, according to calculations by William Jeanes, the 700,000 total buyers could end up consuming 42 million gallons a year more than they do now. Once again, figures like these just go to show that there are no easy fixes for our problems.

[Source: AOL Autos]
Photo by dno1967. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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