Sunday, August 02, 2009

"Cash for Clunkers" Back Up and Running

Yes folks after the House committed to pissing another $2 billion down this rat hole, even more folks can trade in their car for a new one under the condition that the dealer destroy the old one. And I'm apparently not the only one who thinks this is a stupid idea. The folks in the used auto parts business, known affectionately as junk yard operators, don't think it makes a lot of sense either:

DENVER — Not all auto recyclers are relishing the government's new cash for clunkers program, which requires car dealers to destroy the gas-guzzlers they get as trade-ins from new car buyers.

Used engines and drive trains are a big part of recyclers' income from each scrapped car, and under the federal program those engines must be destroyed. The idea is to promote fuel efficiency and help automakers, but it comes at a time when more than a dozen U.S. auto parts suppliers have filed for bankruptcy this year.

"Why throw away good parts when the supply chain is in jeopardy? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense," said Michael Wilson, executive vice president of the Automotive Recyclers Association based in Manassas, Va.

Engines and drive trains account for 60 percent of recyclers' revenue from a used vehicle, Wilson said.

Under cash for clunkers, the government is advising car dealers to replace a trade-in's engine oil with a sodium silicate solution and run the engine to ruin it before giving or selling the car to a scrap dealer.

As someone who is a car-lover in general and has a deep appreciation for the liberty and freedom the automobile has given us Americans, I must say destroying a perfectly good car under a government mandate has an Orwellian feel to it: Big Brother has said my car needs to be destroyed so I will dutifully drive it to the local auto destruction center, have it destroyed and, in its place, I'll get another car that Big Brother approves of in exchange for a car payment I either can't afford or wouldn't otherwise have saddled myself with in the name of doing my patriotic duty because Big Brother says my car meets Big Brother's arbitrary definition of a "gas guzzler". And I've already demonstrated to you that Big Brother is fudging the numbers to create more "gas guzzlers". My two vans certainly aren't the only two cars on that list that are having their mileage numbers "under-averaged" by the government in order to classify them as "clunkers".

This is pretty simple folks: The government has no business manipulating the car market in this manner and the government has no business attempting to dictate the types of cars we drive which is exactly what this is. And the "stimulative" affect on car makers is far less than the net effect on the overall supply of affordable older cars and car parts. Besides, after taking good care of my 13-year-old minivan (that has gotten 20 mpg for my entire 125,000-mile seven-year history with it, despite the government's 18 mpg rating) using the best oil and filters on it and shining it up like new twice a year, do you think I'm about to give it to some dealer so they can destroy the engine and transmission at the behest of Big Brother? I don't think so.

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