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When legislators in the United Kingdom decided to introduce its Cash for Clunkers program, it was widely suggested that older, fuel-guzzling vehicles would be removed from the road in favor of the latest crop of clean, green, fuel efficient cars and trucks. As is often the case, reality isn't so cut-and-dry.

Vehicle scrapping plans are likely to get lots of attention now that Germany's program has proven so effective. Last month, sales in Germany, Europe's largest new car market, surged by 21 percent, which is an amazing figure considering the current state of the global economy. Much of this uptick in sales can be attributed to a new program that Germany introduced that pays new car buyers 2,500 euros to trade in and scrap their old cars, just so long as the displaced vehicle is at least nine years