Cash for Clunkers sputters to a Halt: The Aftermath

Posted by Evan Gassman on Monday, August 31st, 2009, 11:42 AM PERMALINK

Now that the smog has cleared, what did Cash for Clunkers, the 3 billion dollar government rebate program, do exactly?

The Department of Transportation released the final statistics on Cash for Clunkers. So, did the massive expenditure help the ailing American auto manufacturers? Nope: only 17.6% of rebate recipients bought GM cars, and only 6.6% bought Chrysler.
The top three car types on the list were foreign. Only two American-made car types made it onto the top-ten list. The number one car purchased under the rebate was, unsurprisingly, the Toyota Corolla.
Do those statistics not surprise you? How about this: every single car in the top ten cars traded was made by the Detroit Three.
Still not outraged? OK, how about these numbers: the average MPG of the cars traded in was 15.8 MPG. The MPG of the average car purchased was 24.9. Translation: 3 billion dollars of taxpayer money went to replacing 690,114 cars and improving their gas mileage by roughly nine miles per gallon.

Does that sound like a smart way to spend your money? In a few words: honk, screech, crash.

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